Episode Three: Pathways Of LifeMature

     Life inside Wall Rose was tough. We'd been here for a good while, I didn't even care to keep track of the time. There was always food shortages, and the adults were sent out beyond the walls. Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Jared and I were sitting under a covering against a building one afternoon while we received our loaves of bread. Mikasa sat on top of the small wall, with Eren standing down next to her. Armin was with Jared and I, propped up against the building.

"Hey, guys. You know how there's constant demand for food?" Eren asked out loud.

"Yeah, and shelter. And clothes. And water." I mumbled on, burying my face in my hands.

"Well, I had an idea..." Eren began, raising his hands as fists.

"So long as we don't try to rob old people again, Eren." Jared spat, giving me a concerned look.

"No, you don't understand! We could all do better with my idea. We can better ourselves. We can get revenge on those worthless titans!" Eren furrowed his brows, zoning out.

"What do you suppose we do, then? We don't exactly have a broad spectrum of options, Eren." I stood up, walking over to him.

"We join the military. Do our 3 years of training, and go into the Survey Corps!" Eren yelled, his green eyes bursting with anger and determination.

     My mind was sent into a flashback. "I either end your life here, or you join the Survey Corps." I remembered Erwin's stare, how it broke through the veil that appeared as Levi's soul. "Fine, then I'll join." All the flashbacks had captivated me, making me unaware of my real life surroundings. Armin was shaking me by the shoulders, while Jared stared on in concern.

"Ava, Ava! Are you okay?" Armin ceased the shaking, bringing his arms down.

"Y-Yeah, I'm fine..." I muttered, going back to sit against the building.

"Well, what do you guys think?" Eren dropped his hands at his sides.

     Everyone stood in silence, taking their time to ponder on the opportunity before them. Mikasa was the first to speak, saying she'd do whatever was fine with Eren. Armin was extremely hesitant, knowing he didn't have the physical strength, but would do it anyway. Jared was about to say something, when he noticed I hadn't put my input in yet. 

"Hey, sis, what do you think?" Jared put a hand on my shoulder.

"I'm on board. Let's do this." I muttered, knowing if I accepted, I could see Levi again.

*Huge Time Skip to initiation day in the Trainees* 

     The sun beat down on us, showing no relent as we stood locked in a salute. There were people all around me, I had been separated from my friends and brother. From what I could tell, this was a large scale block formation. The drill sergeant patrolled the rows, stopping and asking certain people their names and goals for joining the military. Myself, Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Jared, and a few other select individuals were not questioned. I heard a guard nearby say it was because the sergeant knew we had "witnessed it all".

"Alright, trainees! As of today, you are all officially part of the 104th Trainees Squad! If you decide to quit now, we have plenty of other positions open! Such as...the mines." The drill sergeant dismissed everyone to go get their cabin information and basic items.

     As I walked to my cabin per the directions that were given to me, I opened the door to find two other girls. One was short and blonde, with medium length hair and blue eyes. Another was tall with dark hair that was in a ponytail, with freckles dotting her face. I waved to them both, which the blonde began a conversation with me.

"My name's Krista Lenz. What's yours?" She helped me set my bags on the bottom bunk across from hers and the other girl.

"A-Ava Oliver. Nice to meet you." I nervously smiled, bringing out a box that contained my personal belongings I'd managed to keep.

"I'm Ymir, guess you're our new roomie." The other girl laughed, coming over to shake my hand.

     The three of us sat in a circle on the floor as we talked about ourselves. They both seemed really nice, and I was beyond lucky to have the nice roommates. After we were done talking, the door opened to reveal one of the guards from earlier.

"Dinner's being served in the mess hall, ladies. Head on over." As they left, we all stood up and put on our shoes.

     The mess hall was extremely crowded and hot. We picked a table in the far corner that had Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and Jared. I introduced my new friends, and we began eating our dinner. Eren was being surrounded, since someone overheard us talking about being in Shiganshina when it fell. Much to Eren's disliking, everyone kept asking questions.

"Hey, guys. Let's just all leave Eren alone, okay? He hasn't had the best time as of late." I stood up, defending him.

"-scoffs- Well, looky here. Jaeger's already got a girlfriend on the first day." My eyes immediately shot to the culprit of the comment.

"I'm not his girlfriend, thank you very much." I immediately responded, walking over to the guy.

     He stood up too, a great deal taller than myself. He had a cleaner version of that brown two-tone undercut I saw a Survey Corps soldier have all that time ago. I stared up at him, focusing my light blue eyes focusing on his horse-shaped face.

"Who the hell do you think you are?" I clenched my fists, looking back to Eren still being crowded with people.

"The name's Jean. Jean Kirschtein. I'm from Trost district. What's a peasant like you doing saying such rude things to someone of my class?" He whipped his head to the side.

"For your information, horse-face, I'm from Wall Sina. Don't. Test. Me." I was getting angrier by the second, almost to the point of being unable to control myself.

"Oh! A king's lapdog! Sitting in luxury will soften you up, kiddo." As Jean started to laugh, I jumped up and slugged him as hard as I could in the cheek.

     Everyone who was watching, gasped in amazement. Once my shoes hit the ground again, I dusted my hands off, walking back to my table with my friends and brother. I got several pats on the back and congratulations, as Eren was staring at me with a sense of pride. I smiled back, flashing him my dimples.

"I told you you'd change your mind, Oli." My face went from smiling to blushed. Eren hasn't called me Oli since we first met...

"Yeah, I guess I did. All thanks to you!" I laughed, punching him playfully in the arm.

     The crowd around us retreated to their respected tables, as my friends and I began a much happier conversation on a lighter topic. Armin was babbling on about more stuff he had read in a book, as Jared was trying futilely to get Mikasa's attention. I switched spots with Armin, so I could sit across from Eren. His brown hair was messy, probably from today's events.

"Eren. You're dirty, go take a shower." I commanded, fluffing his hair.

"Pff! You're always nagging me about cleaning! Hey Krista, Ymir, be careful. This one will throw a fit if the cabin gets dirty." Eren gestured towards me with his thumb while talking to the girls.

"Hell, I don't mind. S'less cleaning I have to do." Ymir kicked her shoes up on the table, leaning back slightly.

"Hey, Ava, I think we should start heading back. I hear tomorrow starts the real stuff." Krista stood up, waiting for Ymir and I.

     As I walked out with the other two girls, I noticed someone gagging in the distance. Oh, it's that chick who was eating a potato during initiation. I think her name is Sasha Braus. Krista wanted nothing more but to stop and help, but Ymir dragged her on back towards the cabin. We all got in and stretched, beginning to get ready for bed. I set the box of my personal things on the nightstand that was in the middle of our bunks.

"Goodnight Ymir, goodnight Ava." Krista turned the oil lamp until it went out.

"Night." Ymir slumped over in her top bunk, facing the wall.

"Goodnight, guys." I responded to the girls, sitting up in my bunk with covers over my legs.

     As the night waned on, I found it difficult to sleep. Reaching for the small box I had of my things, I opened it. Crickets chirped from outside as my hands dug quietly through the papers and charms. I found the one I had been searching for, and took it out with ease. Leaning over, I lit a small candle from the nightstand and set it to where its light illuminated my side only. The item I had been searching for, was one my father had taken of me, Armin, Mikasa, Eren, and Jared. I smiled at the nostalgia of it, since we were all little kids at the time. I set the picture back, and continued digging through the box. Next, I pulled out a newspaper clipping that I'd torn out from my fathers paper one time.

     "Survey Corps returns home! Casualties at an all time high." Below the gruesome heading, was a picture of Levi. It was only a side view, and not the best quality at that. From what I could tell, he still had the same haircut, only his face was more developed. And he had that forest green cape on his shoulders. He's still in the Survey Corps. Putting the newspaper clipping back, I came across a velvety small box, like one would put a ring. Opening it up, a piece of paper lay on top of whatever it was covering. "Carried on wings anew, lift only that who is true to you. -Mom" I started to tear up, but looked again to see what the paper was covering.

     Underneath the note from my mother, there were two necklaces. One, had a thick, feathery, angel like wing. Only thing is, it was made of metal and white. The other necklace was exactly the same, but blue. It appeared that when put together, the wings completed each other. I smiled, putting everything back into the bigger box and blowing out the candle. Laying down on my pillow, I instantly fell asleep.

"Quick! Eren, cover me! Mikasa, Armin, Jared, stay to my sides!" I yelled out to my squad, shooting through the trees on my maneuver gear. Eren was at my side as always, our capes flapping harshly at the speeds we were going. "Ava, stop! We need to observe at this point! Make out our surroundings!" Eren yelled to me, and I acknowledged him. We both stopped on a nearby branch of a large tree. The rest of us must still be behind, or had to fight. I took a glance over at Eren, who took off his Survey Corps cloak to reveal the jacket instead. I did the same, as we sat down next to each other. Sighing, I was delighted to have a break. Who knew being a Squad Leader was so demanding? Glancing over at Eren, He was smiling. "Eren, why the grin?" I asked, nudging his arm. "Because, Oli, even in a blood bathed world, there's beauty." He reached for his chest, clenching. Bringing out his hand, he was holding the white half of the Wings of Freedom necklace I had given him. 

     I awoke calmly, my eyes fluttering open to find Ymir and Krista getting dressed in their trainees uniform. I sat up in my bed, rubbing my eyes and yawning.

"It's about time you woke up!" Krista joked, finishing attaching her brown belts.

"Yeah, thought we'd have to pour ice water on you." Ymir threw on her jacket, handing Krista hers.

     The two girls left, leaving me to change alone. I kind of preferred this, actually. And didn't know how they could be so calm exposing themselves to each other like that. But hey, I suppose in the military you've gotta get used to that kind of stuff. Strapping the belts over my pale yellow shirt, I fixated the collar on my jacket and went to join the rest of the trainees. As I got out there, everyone was gathered in front of these machines (for lack of a better term) that were evidently supposed to simulate maneuver gear.

"Alright, trainees! Today we'll be focusing on your ability to balance when using maneuver gear. This could be the sole decider on whether or not you make it." The drill sergeant walked over with a clipboard and pen, calling out the first names.

 

The End

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