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  • Writer's pictureSam

"Shinzou wo Sasageyo"

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

Chapter 1 - On that day...

Year 845 "On that day...humanity remembered..." "Regiment Commander!" The 12th Commander of the Scout Regiment lifted his weary head. "What is it?" he muttered, looking up at the rider. He could sense the unease, not helped that the man was wearing a cape with the Rose. "Shiganshina... the wall has been breached!" "What?" The Regiment Commander could barely believe his ears. First the horrendous losses on the Scout expedition and now... Wall Maria... breached? "Explain," came the voice of another man. Upon a white horse, the man looked tall and slender, his blond hair combed neatly to the side. Under his thick bushy eyebrows were brilliant blue eyes, set into a perfectly chiselled face. "There was a Titan... it was huge, taller than the Wall. It... it kicked down the gate..." the Garrison soldier replied. "A Titan that big... that is not possible. Such a Titan would have to be over fifty meters tall!" "What of Shiganshina? Has the district been evacuated?" the Regiment Commander asked. "They were in the middle of doing so when..." "When what? Speak man!" "When another Titan appeared... it was armoured, head to toe. It broke through the second wall..." "That means..." the blond Commander began. "Wall Maria has fallen," the Regiment Commander stated matter of factly. "Erwin. Which team suffered the least casualties?" "The Special Operations Squad and the Special Reconnaissance Squad. Both suffered no casualties," "Deploy both Squads and send them back to Shiganshina. I want the Special Operations Squad to delay the Titans for as long as possible, and the Special Reconnaissance Squad to aid the evacuation. Understood?" Erwin saluted, his right fist balled and hammered to his heart, the left fist planted firmly behind his back. "Yes sir!" He reigned his horse and galloped off. The Regiment Commander sighed. "Ride to Trost and inform Commander Pyxis," he told the soldier. "Yes sir," the man saluted and he too rode off. The Regiment Commander turned to another Scout nearby. "Gather any Scout who is able to ride and sent them on a dispersal pattern across the landscape. They are to warn all villages to evacuate," Once the orders were done, the Regiment Commander trudged onwards. Why him? Why now? He stole a glance backwards at where Commander Erwin was organising the recon teams. Finally, he looked back to Wall Maria in the distance, smoke rising from what he assumed was the wreckage of Shiganshina. Could it be? The wall was breached? The wall that had stood firm for over 100 years? The wall that had kept out the horrors that they had just faced beyond? He squeezed his eyes shut. He wanted to scream. He could not take it anymore. "Commander?" Erwin's voice broke him out of his self-reflection. "Not anymore..." "Sorry?" Erwin raised his eyebrow. "I said not anymore," the Regiment Commander looked up at Erwin. "Remember when I told you that when you were Regiment Commander you could enact any policy you wanted? Any tactics you wanted? Well. Now is your chance," "Commander..." "Erwin Smith, I declare you the 13th Commander of the Survey Corps," the Regiment Commander turned and looked Erwin in the eye and saluted. "Dedicate your heart!" Erwin saluted back.

"Titan to our left!" Charlie yelled over the sound of galloping hooves. "Permission to take it out?"

A large 15 metre Titan was bearing down on the group of five soldiers as they rode towards Shiganshina. "No!" Sam snapped back, without turning. "Keep riding!"

"It's coming in quickly sir! It'll be an easy kill!"

"Rivett, eyes front!" Natasha yelled at him. "We stick to the plan. We aid the evacuation efforts. The Levi Squad will halt the advance,"

As if on cue, the Titan's nape exploded in a shower of blood, the flash of dual blades glinting in the sun. Before they had time to register the killer, they were already off in a puff of ODM gas.

"We stick to the plan. Charlie, Ashley, Artrin. Engage ODM gear as soon as you reach the wall and assist the Garrison at the wall. Tasha and I will ride straight through the gate and assist in the evacuation!" Sam reminded them.

"Yes sir!" came the chorus of the reply.

The wall steadily neared, the same wall that they had retreated through earlier in the day, ragged and worn. The streets of Shiganshina had been lined with onlookers, wondering why their tax dollars were channelled to feed the Survey Corps, when all they did was come back in failure, with more deaths. The Regiment Commander's breakdown at the feet of Moses' mother summarised the entire expedition. Failure. And the deaths were meaningless. Now, they were back, still ragged and worn but with a sense of purpose. Suddenly, as the riders crested a hill, they saw it, the gaping hole in the wall, a void into oblivion. Through it, they could see Shiganshina behind and through that, the world outside, a faint blue speck in the grey towering wall.

"Oh my..." Ashley muttered. Sam shared the same reaction, albeit silently. Sam had not fully believed that the wall was broken. How could something that had stood so stalwart and true for over one hundred years fall? And yet, it had.

"Garrison team, engage ODM gear. Artrin, you are in charge. NOW!" Sam raised and directed his hand at the wall. With a quick glance between them, and a nod, Charlie, Ashley, and Artrin reached into their jackets and pulled out the hand controllers from their pouch. Then, with a squeeze of the trigger and a blast of gas, they lept from their horses, long wires shooting forward and latching onto the wall. As the trio zoomed up and towards the wall, Sam and Tasha lowered their heads to speed through the gate faster.

"Most the evacuation has been done," Tasha observed.

"We ride for the front gate. I want to see the damage for myself," Sam replied.

"Perhaps, we should use our ODM gear? The streets limit our mobility and we don't want to run into a rogue Titan,"

Sam rode ahead. "Yeah... let's go," he said as he unclipped his hand controllers and squeezed. He zipped from his horse onto the nearest house and Tasha followed.

"Race to the wall?" she smiled coyly at him.

"I'll beat you,"

"Says the one who was looking at my ass during ODM training. You know, because I aced it?" Tasha smirked.

"Bite me," Sam responded and jumped off the roof, zooming off towards the wall.

Tasha grinned. "I wish you'd actually let me," she whispered to nobody and followed, close on his heels.

The pair of them swung around the empty buildings which turned from empty husks into broken husks as they neared the wall, smashed to pieces by rubble from the wall. Sam rounded the corner and came face to face with a Titan skulking behind a house. It lunged at Sam. Sam's survival instincts kicked in and he squeezed his hand controllers. The Titan flew at him, mouth open. The anchors fired either side of the Titan, anchoring on the houses. Sam pushed his weight downwards on his harness and swung down towards the ground, out of the way of the Titan's opened jaws. As he hit the floor, he reeled in his wires and slid along the road, underneath the Titan's body. He saw the Titan's eyes follow him down. Sliding behind the Titan, he spooled back in off the ground and unhooked the anchors. The momentum threw him up in the air. He spun slightly and and aimed his left anchor at another house, before squeezing his left trigger. The left anchor shot towards the house and pierced the wall, latching onto it. As soon as the anchor hit, he retracted it, righting his body and refiring his anchors and shooting towards the still flying Titan. With a flash of his blades, he sliced at the Titan's nape, cutting deep and true. The dead Titan flopped to the ground dead as Sam flew through the raining blood and landed on another roof with a flourish.

"Nice kill Bishop," Tasha laughed as she sped on by. "But I'm going to beat you!"

"Hey, I just killed a Titan," he replied and followed.

"And I've killed three," she replied, flipping around and winking at him, pointing back as she flew through the air.

Sam glanced back and saw the three smouldering bodies evaporating. "For crying out loud," he muttered and followed, straining to zip past Tasha. He was unsuccessful as Tasha toyed with him, straying left and right to slay Titans and returning back in front of Sam. Before long, they had reached the walls. Tasha smirked knowingly as she watched Sam arrive, panting slightly. "Show off," he shook his head and looked towards the wall. The gaping maw of the broken gate was strangely hypnotic, the jagged edges in stark contrast to the calm smoothness of the wall. Titans sundered through the gap, entering this strange new world that they had been exposed to, hunting for food.

"So it is true," Tasha said, her eyes wide.

Sam didn't reply, staring into the eyes of a Titan who turned to look at him, hungrily. Tasha followed his eyes and spotted the it. A quick zip, flip, and slice later, the Titan collapsed to the ground and Tasha landed on the roof, wiping her blades on her leg.

"Come on Bishop, we should aid the evacuation," she said, lightly touching his arm.

"Let's go," Sam nodded and stood. Just before he was about to fly off, he heard a scream. His head snapped in the direction of the sound.

"You hear that?" Tasha stood on the edge of the roof, glancing around for the person who had screamed.

"That direction, quickly," Sam lept off the roof, towards a rotund, lumbering Titan.

As the pair zoomed towards it, they saw the Titan's prey; a young girl cradling a body, frozen at the sight of her death rushing towards her. The Titan looked at her and reached down to grab her, palms open wide, his fingers curling around her small frame.

Sam and Tasha didn't have to talk, or even look at each other as they raced towards the Titan.

The Titan gripped the girl and stood, straightening and grinning at her. She was frozen in fear, tears streaming down her face. The pair of Scouts pushed towards the Titan trying to intercept it before it ate the girl. The Titan opened its jowls. The hand moved up. The girl screamed.

Sam's blades slashed through the Titan's hand. The Titan looked at Sam, confused, as the severed limb, still clutching the girl, fell to the ground. The Titan's confusion was short-lived; Tasha's blades cut deep and fast, slicing a chunk out of the Titan's nape. The Titan fell backwards, dead. Sam's posture changed in midair as he spun around. His anchors fired towards the ground and he shot towards them, racing gravity, trying to catch the girl before she was crushed by the hand. He won, just. Snatching the girl out of the air, he re-fired them at the nearest house. The arc of his swing sent him skidding through the cobbled streets, sparks flying from where the metal kissed the stone. The girl screamed as the continued arc sent the pair of them into the air and onto the roof. Tasha landed next to them. "You okay?" she asked the pair. Sam replied with a nod but the girl just looked back down at the smouldering remains of the Titan and the small human body next to it. "Mummy..." she began. Tasha glanced at Sam and shook her head solemnly. From Tasha's angle, she could see that all that was left of the girl's mother was a pair of legs; the top half was nowhere in sight. "Sam, we have to go," she said as she spotted a few more Titans lumbering towards them. "Grab the girl and fall back to the wall, I'll buy you some time." Before Sam could tell her to stop, Tasha had stepped off the roof and was whizzing towards the Titans. "Tasha!" he screamed to no avail. Not able to chase her with a civilian, he grabbed the girl by the shoulders. "What is your name, child?" "Mummy..." she said again and tried to look around Sam to the body. "She's just there..." Sam shook his head, moving it to intercept the girl's eye line. "Look at me! Your mother is dead. Right now we need to keep you alive. What is your name?" "Mumm... mmyy... is... dead?" the girl sniffled, tears welling in her eyes. Sam could not take this anymore. "We don't have time for this!" he muttered and grabbed the girl. "Hold on tight," he commanded and engaged his ODM gear. The girl refused to acquiesce. Almost as soon as he entered his second swing, she wriggled and squirmed. Sam was taken aback at this sudden change in weight distribution and had to compensate mid-swing, causing the pair to flip in the air. For Sam, this was a typical manoeuvre. The girl, however, screamed. Sam wasn't able to correct his swing in time and fired his left anchor to late; instead of gripping onto the wall, it bounced off harmlessly. The two of them crashed into the side of a building and slunk to the floor. The ODM gear was designed to unclip in the instance of a crash and this is just what it did, spinning off Sam's body and down an alleyway on the ground. "Damn the Walls!" Sam cursed as he picked himself off the ground and grabbed the girl's shoulders, hard. "Listen. Your mother is dead. Okay? You'll go the same way and take me with you if you don't stop this. SO JUST STAY STILL UNTIL WE GET TO SAFETY!" The girl sniffled in response. Sam took that as a sign of acceptance and set off down the alley to grab his ODM gear. He bent down to pick it up. It looked intact. Suddenly the girl's scream rang out down the walls of the alley. "What now?" Sam turned in anger. He didn't need a response; the thud of footsteps on the ground was enough. "Move!" he yelled at the girl. She stood frozen in fear. Cursing, Sam dropped his ODM gear and towards her, stopping as he neared a door. He glanced between the girl and the door. He shook his head. Sam dived through the door. *** Tasha was a blur through the air, slashing Titans left, right, and centre. She looked back and could see Sam and the girl set off to the wall. She gave a small nod. Good she thought. I'll buy them some time and head back. Every Titan that Tasha met, she brought down with expert efficiency. As she felled a few more, she felt a distinct change in the pressure of her ODM gear; it was clearly running out of gas. She should head back now whilst she still had the gas to scale the wall. Otherwise, without her gear, she was defenceless. She did not like to be defenceless. She had been once. Never again. As she moved back towards the wall, she noticed something. From the corner of her eye; two men and a woman, standing on a destroyed house. She was about to stop midair to ask them if they needed assistance, but something seemed off. Instead, she carried on before dipping below the skyline and doubling back on them. The two men were in military gear, the badge on the back of their jackets indicating that they were members of the Military Police. The woman too was wearing the insignia of the Military Police, but she was on her knees, and looked fairly beaten up. Tasha landed silently on the roof and crawled into earshot. "Why...why are you doing this? Preventing humanity from developing?" the woman's voice pleaded. "Humanity is safe as it is. The system works," "Safe?" the woman laughed manically. "The walls have been breached! We are cattle in a pen!" "Cattle are safe. They live their lives. Each has a purpose," "A lie!" "Enough!" one of the men yelled. "Your purpose was to serve the king. This document proves that you are a traitor to our cause. Take her jacket," "What...are you...why are you giving me a Scout jacket?" the woman screamed. A thud was heard followed by a silence. Tasha could see a Titan walking towards the rooftop. "You...can' this..." the woman muttered. Tasha stole a small peek over the edge of the roof. The Military Police jacket had been ripped off her, the jacket bearing the Wings of Freedom draped over her shoulders. Her brown hair was drenched in blood from a recent cut. "We can," one of the men said and kicked her backwards off the roof. The incoming Titan lunged at her. Tasha didn't see her die, but heard her last screams. "Help God no!" One of the men grimaced, whilst the other looked on with iron indifference. "Traitors, one and all. Let's go," he said. Tasha scrambled down the rooftop and jumped off, using her ODM anchors to hang from the roof as she heard the two men fly off. Counting to three, she rappled back onto the roof and ran across it. She was too late; the only remains of the woman was the shreds of the Wings of Freedom that fluttered in the air, drenched in her blood. Tasha fingered her scarf and then lept off the roof, slicing the Titan's nape wide open. Her journey back to the walls was quick, as she struggled to understand what she had just witnessed. Artrin held out a hand to help her onto the wall. "There you are," he said. "Where is the Captain? Is he not with you?" "Sam's not back?" she asked, and looked around for him, and the girl. "No... we thought that you were with him," "He was meant to arrive before me," "Shall we find him?" Charlie asked. Tasha shook her head and tapped her gas cylinders. Empty. "No," she said. "Let's assist the Garrison regiment with the retreat. They'll make it back," The other three nodded their heads and got to work. Tasha took a glance back to the ruins of Shiganshina. "I know he will," she whispered into her scarf, before turning back around.

Sam dived through the door. As he fell, he rolled through and under a table, standing as he came out of the roll. He bounded up the stairs and into a room. From the window, he could see the Titan charging at the girl. "Praise the Walls," he muttered. It was a two meter Titan. Perfect. He climbed onto the window ledge and with a roar he lept, swinging his blades around with all his might. The Titan had already bolted past him and was oblivious to the blades that sliced its neck. Sam's momentum carried him through the rain of blood and he landed on Titan, drenched head to toe in the crimson liquid. He bore it no mind. He got to his feet and ran back into the alley to grab his ODM gear. When he emerged from the alley, the blood was already starting to evaporate into clouds of steam. "Next time a Titan comes for you. Run," he snarled at the girl as he clipped his gear back on. "Don't stand around like an ass. Understand?" "Mhm..." the girl squeaked. As Sam finished putting on his gear, he frowned. "You have got to be kidding me..." The girl looked at him with wide eyes. "It's broken," Sam gave a response. He looked up. The Wall was still a fair distance away and Sam was without any gear. His chances of survival had plummeted, rapidly. "Are we going to die?" the girl asked. Sam turned to the girl to mutter a sharp response but her look disarmed him. "No..." he finally said. "We are not." An idea sprung to his mind. "Hold on," he suddenly commanded. The girl acquiesced readily this time, jumping into his arm. Carefully aiming at the end of the road, Sam fired his anchors and hoped they would work. They did, shooting out and embedding themselves into the side of the house. "Okay... this might be bumpy but... the clasp on my belt is broken and if we left the ground, I'd have no balance. If we stay on the ground, however..." he pressed the trigger and the ODM gear behind him whizzed to life. Sam exhaled and jumped up slightly. He depressed the trigger and fired some gas. The wires reeled in and Sam shot forward. Almost as soon as he moved, he felt himself being thrown back as the broken clasp on the belt detached itself from the harness on his back but Sam let himself go. Before he could upturn fully, he heard the griding and saw sparks being thrown in front of his eyes as the ODM gear dragged itself on the ground, but prevented him for upturning. The pair of them glided along the ground at a fast pace. At the end of the road, Sam threw his weight forward as much as he could. The force of the ODM gear behind him helped him through and Sam managed to land on his feet, breathing heavily. The girl looked up to him. "That. Was. Cool!" she smiled for the first time. Sam didn't reply, taking in the motions of his last manoeuvre. "Come on," he finally said. "We need to do that a few more times..." The pair of them zoomed through the streets of Shiganshina, past bodies of Titans and humans, debris from the wall and crushed bodies. They ran into a few Titans along the way, which led to hasty retreats and furious chases, but they managed to evade the lumbering beasts and eventually they ended up at the wall. Sam looked up. There was no way he would be able to get up there without his gear. He settled the girl down to think. As he did so, he saw a dead body ahead of him. He was about to pay it no mind until he realised what he was looking at. It was a Rose. On the back. A member of the Garrison Regiment. Which meant... "Stay here, I'm going to grab that man's gear!" Sam said and began to run towards the body. He skidded to a halt. Hiding behind the house was a large Titan. And it was hungry. It opened its jaws to grab Sam. It was only instinct and muscle memory that made Sam's fingers press the trigger of his gear. The anchors gripped and reeled in, shooting Sam away from the opened jowls of his hunter. Sam, however, could not stop himself from falling backwards, and this time, without the clasp to keep him from rotating, he couldn't correct himself. Sam's head hit the ground with a sickening crunch. It felt like days when Sam's eyes opened. It wasn't days. It was seconds. The Titan had recovered from its attack and was looking at Sam, opening its mouth for a second attempt. Sam rolled to one side, blood dripping from his head and fired his left anchor at the Titan's eye. It embedded itself perfectly. With his right anchor, he fired it at the dead body, wincing at the sound of the metal embedding in the flesh of the man. The Titan screamed and tried to grab the anchor but Sam disengaged it quickly. With the right anchor still in the dead man, Sam, reeled it in, pulling the dead man along with it. It took Sam three seconds to pull the ODM gear off the man and to take his belt. Sam fired his anchor again at the Titan, this time aiming for the right eye. As soon as the anchor hit, Sam sliced his belt off and let the ODM gear reel back into the Titan's face. The Titan fell back in pain. Sam tied on the dead man's belt, not caring if it wasn't on properly, and then ran towards the Titan, ducking under its flailing hands and onto the other side, "Hurry!" he yelled at the girl who once again lept on him. Sam took once last look at the Titan and fired the anchors up at the Wall. With a leap, the pair ascended. *** "Time to withdraw," Artrin said, jogging towards Tasha and the others. "Captain Levi's orders," "Sam's not back yet," Tasha replied. Artrin shook his head. "I'm sorry... but the Captain was firm. Everyone is to withdraw now back to Trost," Tasha looked at Shiganshina. It was crawling with Titans. The last of the civilians had long gone and now, even on the inside of Wall Maria, she could see the lumbering hulks moving inwards towards Wall Rose. It was going to be a hard journey back. If they delayed, their chances would be null. She glanced back towards Shiganshina. "Let's go," she muttered, and was about to leap off the wall to return to the horses when there was a yell. "Tasha!" She turned to see two anchors impaled firmly on the top of the wall. "It's...the Captain!" Ashley yelled, looking over. "He's...carrying someone," Tasha ran towards it. "Sam!" "A hand?" Sam yelled, struggling from the effort of not falling back. It wasn't long before Sam and the girl were on top of the wall. Sam gasped and let the girl go; she was taken by Ashley and led off. Sam slumped to the ground. Tasha held him. "My God Sam..." she said as her hand came away bloody from the back of his head. "What happened?" Sam did not reply. His eyes slid shut and he slumped into Tasha's arms.

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