With a push of his foot off the branch, the blonde commander surged forward in the thick forest with his companions following closely behind him, occasionally stopping to kill a Titan or two in their way.
Erwin’s ear perked up when a high-pitched scream, which clearly belonged to a female, resonated throughout the vast area. He stopped his movements and whipped his head back to examine the problem.
With great speed, a 7m class was currently running the direction opposite of the commander with one of the cadets hanging from its mouth, the only thing saving her being the forest-green fabric of her cloak clenched between the creature’s teeth.
The blonde’s face remained composed as he assessed the situation. Hanji was on the right, fighting off two 3m classes, while Mike was on the right, assisting another soldier; this left Erwin as the only possible candidate within the vicinity to help. The man did not need another second to think as he shot the grapple hooks to the tree nearest the Titan and engaged in a high-speed chase against the monster.
As he transitioned from branch to branch, Erwin found it weird that the Titan did not hold any intent to devour the young woman at all. Something was off about this one…an aberrant, perhaps? It was plain obvious that the Titan could easily gobble up the cadet with just a tilt of its chin so, why?
Far beyond him, a silvery-glint flashed before Erwin’s bright blue eyes and Corporal Rivaille soon came into view. With a circular swipe, the green fabric was ripped apart as pieces of the Survey Corps’ emblem flew into the wind. The cadet was falling. Fast.
With one final push of gas, the commander launched himself towards the body plunging down and caught her just as they reached the forest ground, littered with fallen leaves. Rivaille landed a ways above the couple on a branch and watched the Titan with dark eyes.
“Commander Erwin…” The cadet breathed out as she steadied herself on her feet. “Thank you so much for saving me, sir. I apologize for my incompetence.”
“It’s alright. Stay alert, soldier, there are still other Titans within the area.”
The female nodded and an ear-splitting cry came from the previous Titan. The three glanced at the Titan and Erwin’s eyebrows knitted together at the confusing scene before him.
This abnormal Titan did not attempt to recapture his female comrade but instead, it’s massive hands beat against the thick trunks of the trees and repeatedly stomp it’s foot on the forest floor, sending shock waves coursing throughout the soldiers’ bodies.
“Tch, it’s acting like a shitty brat.” Erwin heard Rivaille comment from above and he nodded in agreement.
As Erwin analyzed the actions of this Titan closer, he realized why this seemed so familiar. It was as if the giant was throwing a tantrum like a small child, he noted.
With a final, prolonged cry almost identical to the one earlier, the Titan doubled over and landed on all fours as steam began to emit from its body. Even the stoic Corporal watched with slight interest as the large body began to dissolve like any Titan would. A small shadow emerged within the puffs of white air and Erwin walked closer to the object to investigate.
A groan that could only belong to a human sounded from the body as it fell over and rolled off the disappearing Titan flesh. As the steam cleared, the Commander realized with great disbelief that the body belonged to a child!
“A child…Titan shifter?” He mumbled, full of curiosity as he carried the child in his strong arms.
“So there was a brat inside that thing.” Rivaille called out as he hopped off the branch to join his companions.
“Is she sleeping, Commander?” The female soldier asked as she peeked at the child.
“I believed she’s passed out from exhaustion.”
“Heh. Just wait till the Dumbass Glasses sees this, she’s gonna shit herself.”
Erwin gave a slight shake of his head at Rivaille’s word choice and ordered the two to cover him as they carried the child back to where the main troops were stationed.
The male took the chance to study the child’s features as they returned. The kid was obviously female and a couple of scrapes and cuts spread throughout her otherwise smooth face. She wore an oversized tan-colored shirt with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows.
Thoughts popped up in his mind as he watched the sleeping girl. The most prominent of them all was just how could a child be a Titan shifter? He then wondered whether this child knew of her own abilities and if she knew how she received said skill. Is she even aware of the horror that the Titans possessed?
As these questions began to form, Erwin knew that they would have to question her. The true problem at hand is the method in which she will be questioned. One does not simply beat a full-grown adult for answers, much less a small child.
Rivaille glanced over as Erwin let out a sigh and the blonde shook his head to indicate that nothing was wrong.
Surely, being direct and straightforward is the best way to obtain answers but would a little girl understand such questions? Having no previous experiences dealing with children, the Commander was merely charging into this situation blindly and hoping that all works well. He will need female persuasion skills. He will need Hanji.
Pure white was the color that greeted (Name)’s large (e/c) orbs as they blinked, wide-awake. In surprise and utter terror, the girl sat up on the unfamiliar bed and scanned her surroundings. It appeared that she was in a room with one other person, an older woman with her dark brown hair tied up in a ponytail and goggles over her head.
“Hello! Glad to see that you’re finally awake! My name’s Hanji, what’s yours?” The woman, Hanji as she had introduced, excitedly screamed and shoved her hand out for a handshake.
Completely overwhelmed by the sudden enthusiasm, the tiny Titan shifter scampered to the edge of the bed with her back against the wall.
“Aw, don’t be shy! I won’t hurt you, I promise. So tell me, how did you turn into a Titan? Do you know about your own ability? Are you conscious during your time inside the Titan’s body? How did you end up in the forest?”
With each additional question from the overly eager scientist, (Name) cowered further and further away before she finally gave in and crawled off the bed to slip under it.
“Why are you hiding? Come out, come out and let Miss Hanji play with you! I won’t hurt you, really! Come on!” Hanji tried to persuade the child to give up her hiding spot but realized that it was to no avail. The brunette let out a huff and dejectedly slumped her shoulders. She sat on one of the wooden chairs to wait until either Erwin or Rivaille came to check up on the situation.
Eventually, the two did come with a loud knock to announce their presence. Hanji was more than happy to let the two superiors in. Rivaille walked in with streaks of anger and annoyance present on his face while Erwin’s reflected confusion at the empty spot on the bed.
“Where did she go?” He asked, directing his question towards the squad leader.
One finger went to point under the bed. “She crawled under there a while ago and refused to come out. All I did was just ask her a couple of questions!”
“Knowing you, you probably scared the shit out of her with that annoying voice of yours.” Rivaille huffed with a frustrated glare.
“Oi kid, are you going to hide under there forever or are you going to come out? I have floors to mop and windows to clean so I don’t have time to wait for you to drag your tiny butt out.” Hearing no response, the Corporal kicked the bed and stormed out to retrieve his cleaning supplies, clearly done with the current situation for the day, despite the fact that he’s only been in there for less than five minutes.
It was Erwin’s turn to try as he carefully walked up to the bed.
“Hello, Little One. Would you like to come out of there for a moment? It doesn’t look too comfortable.”
“No!” Came an obnoxiously loud response. The Commander tried again.
“Are you sure? I would love to talk to you and get to know your name. Do you want to be friends?”
Hanji screamed in happiness as two tiny arms reached out in an attempt to crawl out of the bed.
“I’m (Name).” The child mumbled as Erwin pulled her out and set her on top of the bed.
“I see. That’s a very pretty name. I’m Erwin.” He introduced as he kneeled in front of the girl.
(Name) sniffled and wiped away some of her tears with her sleeve and offered a tiny smile.
“Okay (Name), I’m going to ask you some questions now. Try to answer them as best you can.”
The girl nodded at the simple instructions and Erwin began the interrogation.
“First of all, do you know what Titans are?”
“Big people.” She answered.
“Alright. Who taught you how to turn into a Titan?”
“I don’t know…” (Name) mumbled and looked down at her lap.
“Do you remember who taught you about Titans?”
The girl shrugged and at this point, Rivaille re-entered the room looking slightly less annoyed than before.
“How did you feel when you were inside the Titan?”
“I don’t know…I get scared but when I get big, I get not so scared.” She answered truthfully and Hanji nodded behind Erwin with a dangerous gleam in her eyes as she began to take notes.
“Okay, good. Do you remember seeing any of us during your time as a Titan?”
(Name) looked back and forth between the three soldiers and shook her head.
“I see. So where’s your family? Do you know who or where your parents are?”
At the mention of the word ‘family’, the child began to tear up again.
“I don’t know where they are! I just…I just wanna see Mama again!” She cried as sobs wracked through her body.
“Perhaps she took that soldier because it reminded her of her mother?” Hanji hypothesized and Erwin nodded at the possibility.
“Okay you did good (Name).” Erwin softly spoke as he patted the girl’s head in an attempt to comfort her.
The child wasn’t bad, the male thought, maybe she could prove to be a helpful cause to our organization if we raised her. She could possibly control her powers better and help us like Eren.
The question now is who would raise her. There are many who would immediately jump at the opportunity but are bad influences and there are many other qualified soldiers who would claim that they ‘don’t have the time’ to watch over a little kid.
The Commander pondered over this for a while before he came to a conclusion. He turned around so that he faced the other two adults in the room.
“We will be raising this child.” He announced.