- Oh, you’re already awake, Desi.
I only look at Reiner, and move my gaze away.
- I guess you would be pretty upset. But you brought this upon yourself, you know.
- It was you…back then.
I speak up, without looking at him.
- Back then?
- The fall of Wall Maria. You broke the gate. I was there, and saw you up close, but you didn’t attack me.
- Hmm, I don’t really remember.
- I was scared, but I couldn’t help my fascination. So foolish…
- Are you scared right now?
- Not really. I’m more scared of falling down this tree.
- Desi…we brought you here, because you became a threat to us.
- Oh, really, Reiner? How exactly am I a threat to you? Sooner or later, the secret was going to be out anyway, with or without me noticing anything.
- Damn, you two are loud.
Bertolt wakes up as well. I can’t will myself to look at him. I actually considered him a friend…I turn to look at Eren instead.
“How is he even still asleep?” I think to myself. I turn back to Reiner and Bertolt.
- So, what are you planning to do now? What’s the next step?
- I guess it’s alright to tell you at this point. We will be taking Eren to our village. His power is valuable to our Chief.
But my question is left unanswered.
- As for you, Desi…I’m afraid it will be game over for you.
I snicker at Reiner, and he’s visibly annoyed. Where is all of this courage coming from??
- Aren’t you going to add anything, Bert? Or you’ve turned into a nobody, who has no personal opinion, and only goes with the flow?
- Be careful what you say, Desi!
Reiner shouts at me.
- Its fine, Reiner.
Bertolt attempts to calm him down.
- I know you probably think badly of me, Desi, and it’s alright if you do. You can’t understand us anyway. Your mission and our mission are way too different.
We are all fighting for what we believe in, and trust me; I don’t like being the enemy of someone I once called a friend.
This situation is completely messed up. I should be more upset at them, but I can’t. It actually hurts me. At this point Eren finally wakes up. I mentally prepare myself for his reaction.
- What the…What is this?!?
Eren looks up at me.
- Desi..? What’s going on? Where are we? And why am I tied up??
- Eren, calm down, please, otherwise you might fall down. We are in the Forest with giant trees.
- Forest with giant trees? What are we doing here?
- The mission failed and…
I stop mid-sentence and look up instead. Eren follows my gaze.
- You guys…What…What the hell is going on??
- They kidnapped us, and brought us here.
It seems Eren can’t really comprehend what I’m telling him. No, actually, it’s more like he can’t believe it. I understand where he’s coming from.
- You…DAMN TRAITORS!!
Do they actually…look hurt by his words…?
- Eren, please calm down. Look, I know you’re very confused and angry right now, but there’s not much we can do in this situation.
We are in a dangerous place, which at any moment can get swarmed with titans, we don’t have any of our gear, and Bertolt and Reiner can turn into titans…
- Listen to her, Eren. She’s way smarter than you.
I send an irritated look Reiner’s way. Seriously, the last thing I need right now is an emotionally unstable Eren. He’s like a ticking bomb. After a bit, Eren finally speaks.
- What happened with the Female Titan?
- I actually have no idea.
But I do have an idea about her identity. You don’t see that fighting style every day. But there is no way I’m giving them another reason to kill me.
- Come on, you two. Enough chit-chat. It’s time to finish this.
- Finish this? What the hell do you mean??
Eren shouts angrily at Reiner. My heartbeat is so loud, I can actually hear it. Reiner jumps down next to me.
- I’m sorry it has to be this way, Desi.
I can see my reflection in his blade. But there’s something else I notice – the hesitation in his eyes. There is no way I’m giving up like this.
- What about…being a soldier? Did it mean nothing to you? The time we all spent together? How hard we trained to become soldiers? We were like a family.
Don’t you dare lie to me, and tell me it meant absolutely nothing to you!
My eyes are starting to tear up.
- It did mean something! God damn it, it did! You might think I’m heartless, but I’m not. Whether you believe it or not, I don’t want to do this, but I have a mission to complete.
I’m not a soldier…I’m a warrior.
- A warrior?
But he doesn’t answer me.
- I’m sorry, Desi.
I shut my eyes. Next to me Eren is thrashing and screaming at Reiner to stop. I’m so sorry, Eren. There was nothing I could do for you in my last moments.
- Reiner, stop!
Huh? I slowly open my eyes.
- What do you mean stop?? We have to do this.
- No, we don’t. There is no need to kill her. Just, please stop this. It’s unnecessary, she never did anything wrong to us. We have Eren; he is the one we need.
Reiner…how will you live with yourself if you do this to the girl you like?
When I look up at him, Reiner is…blushing…You’ve got to be kidding me.
- Bertolt…YOU! Why would you even say that??
I move my gaze between the two of them, and I can’t help it.
I end up laughing at the absurdity of the situation.
- Are you actually serious right now??
Eren’s annoyed voice interrupts my laughing fit.
- How can you even laugh at this??
- Well, at least she doesn’t bark all the time like you do.
- What did you say?!?
Here we go...I get up from my spot in an attempt to stop them before they start fighting. But right when Reiner and Eren’s conflict begins something big rams itself against the tree we’re on.
The tree shakes slightly from the contact. I lose my balance, and start to fall, a silent scream lodged in my throat. But Reiner quickly catches my arm and pulls me up.
My body is shaking, and I don’t even realize that I’m clutching Reiner’s arm, but he doesn’t protest in any way. I look down. Oh, great – an abnormal titan.
- Bertolt, it’s time to leave.
- What about Desi?
Reiner looks at me. I answer his gaze.
- I guess I can’t kill you after all.
He’s smiling a bit.
- I’ll take you with me instead.
At that point I notice something in the distance. It looks like…and my eyes fill with happy tears. The Survey Corps are making their way here.
- Commander… - I can’t help but mutter.
Reiner interrupts my moment of happiness.
- Bertolt, take Eren. I will carry Desi. We will use the tall trees and get out of the forest with the 3D maneuver gear.
I try to protest, but Reiner’s strong grip holds me in place. After we take off, the fear of falling down is stopping me from any objections. I hear Bertolt shout at Eren behind us.
- Eren, stop struggling, or we’ll both fall!
I turn my head back and gaze towards the approaching Survey Corps. I am being taken away once more, and it feels just as bad as the first time.
- Erwin, do you see them? Up ahead in the trees? It seems like they are making their escape. We need to move faster.
Erwin Smith nods at Levi, and turns to everyone else.
- We are about to enter the Forest with giant trees. Our targets are just ahead. Be prepared for a fight at any given moment!
- Yes, Sir!