|This tiny world is about to change. Will it bring hope, or despair? Can we trust the government with the future of humanity or not? Who gets to choose? Who decides? Who will you trust?"|
|— Erwin Smith warns Nile Dawk of the impending uprising|
The coup d'état (クーデター Kūdetā?) was a military uprising against the Royal Government in response to the growing efforts to dissolve the Scout Regiment. This resulted in the old monarchy being overthrown and the Reiss family, the true royal bloodline, returning to prominence in the public eye with Historia Reiss being crowned Queen of the Walls.
The Scout Regiment discovered the presence of a Titan inside of Wall Rose following the capture of the Female Titan. Due to the intervention of Pastor Nick to prevent it from awakening, Commander Erwin Smith learned that there were people within the Walls aware of secrets hidden from the general populace.
Nick was taken with the Scout Regiment when they left Stohess District and Hange Zoë placed him in the Trost District barracks under a fake background out of concern that he might be targeted for cooperating with the Scouts.
In the aftermath of the Wall Rose invasion, Dot Pyxis met with a recuperating Erwin and discussed the evacuation situation. The emergency food supplies for Wall Rose's refugees were exhausted within a week. There were clashes with the Military Police and the people of the Walls got a glimpse of the tensions that could have boiled over had the breach been for real.
Squad Levi was rebuilt to consist of the remaining top ten members of the 104th Cadet Corps and Armin Arlelt with the specific task of guarding Eren Jaeger, who they now knew had the power to control Titans, and Historia Reiss who was the illegitimate daughter of a rural noble.
The Coup d'état
The Interior Police
Pastor Nick was murdered in his barracks and Hange Zoë discovered an investigation being carried by the Military Police Regiment. Though she was not able to examine the crime scene, Hange saw that all of Nick's fingernails had been pulled out. Moreover, the soldiers guarding the door, Djel Sannes and Ralph, were part of the Military Police's First Interior Squad and did not normally operate outside of the capital.
They attempted to cover up the murder as a robbery because Nick was a member of the Order of the Walls and their holy objects were made of valuable iron, but in doing so they revealed they knew too much about him to be an unrelated party. Hange had not mentioned anything about his religion when she filled out the application for him to stay.
Later that day, Commander Erwin Smith sent Nifa with word of a freeze on Scout activity outside the Walls to Levi and Hange's squads. The government also asked them to hand over Eren Jaeger and Historia Reiss. Nifa escaped from the Scouts' headquarters as the Military Police under Nile Dawk arrived to detain Erwin and conduct an investigation.
Thanks to Erwin's warning, the newly reformed Squad Levi and Hange's squad escaped from their remote cabin before the Military Police could capture them. Levi asked Hange to leave some of her squad with him, so Nifa, Keiji, and Abel remained with Levi, and Moblit Berner accompanied Hange on her visit to Erwin.
Levi and those with him headed for Trost District to put distance between them and the capital. There, the citizens were receiving handouts on behalf of the King. While the squad walked down the street, a carriage barged through and kidnapped two members of Squad Levi.
Having anticipated this, the kidnapped victims were not Eren and Historia, but a disguised Jean Kirschtein and Armin Arlelt. Levi and his squad tracked the kidnappers to their hideout in a warehouse. Noting that the kidnappers were amateurs, he left the rest of the body double operation up to his squad and left to meet Nifa and Abel. Squad Levi quickly captured the kidnappers and prepared to meet up with their captain.
Nifa and Abel were stationed on top of different buildings to watch Keiji, who was transporting the real Eren and Historia to Dot Pyxis in a separate carriage. Levi joined Nifa and noted that something felt off about how the Military Police were reacting. As he concluded who could possibly be behind this, they were ambushed by the Anti-Personnel Control Squad led by Kenny Ackermann. Nifa and Abel were killed immediately and Keiji shortly thereafter as Kenny's squad proceeded to kidnap Eren and Historia. Hearing gunshots, Squad Levi arrived in time to see their friends being captured, but was unable to save them.
Meanwhile, the Military Police confiscated inventory from the Scout Regiment headquarters, including Erwin's personal effects. When they had a moment alone, Erwin tried to talk with Nile, and asked him questions about the government and who would he trust. Nile was discomforted by the questioning and realized that Erwin was planning something.
Squad Levi regrouped at the kidnappers' warehouse and talked with their ringleader, who turned out to be Dimo Reeves, the head of the Reeves Company. Reeves was forced into working with the Military Police to save the lives of his son, his employees, and himself. Levi convinced him to help the Scouts instead. As part of the deal, Reeves lured Djel Sannes and Ralph of the First Interior Squad into a trap by promising them that he was taking them to Levi's hideout. The two of them were then captured.
After the Military Police left Scout headquarters, Hange and Moblit met up with Erwin. She informed him that Eren and Historia had been kidnapped and that if they do not rescue Eren soon, he will be eaten. Hange then joined Levi in their new hideout to assist with the interrogation of Sannes.
Sannes admitted he had tortured a lot of people, but because of the Interior Police, the people within the Walls have never known war. They erased anyone necessary to protect the peace. Even in the face of his current situation, Sannes refused to break, drawing on his devotion to the King and his mission of protecting the peace within the Walls. He asked Levi and Hange to go ahead and torture him to death, since it would be a fitting punishment for what he had done with his life.
Outwardly dismayed by his willingness to die, Hange and Levi left Sannes strapped in his chair and exited the room, leaving the door open a crack. On the other side, they forced Ralph to read from a script while he was unaware that Sannes was close enough to hear. Following the script, Ralph confessed to talking to the Scout Regiment and voiced disgust for Sannes and his fanaticism. Hange and Levi later returned to Sannes and found his spirit broken by Ralph's presumed betrayal. Sannes confessed that the Reiss family was the true royal family. From this, Hange concluded that Eren and Historia were likely where Rod Reiss was.
At about the same time, Reeves and his son Flegel took a break in the near empty streets of Trost so Flegel could relieve himself in an alley. Kenny sneaked up on Reeves and slit his throat for betraying them, though he missed seeing Flegel witness the murder.
That same night Erwin met with Pyxis to suggest they overthrow the royal government in order to retake Wall Maria. Pyxis was dismayed at the thought of humans turning against each other, but Erwin explained that he could do this without killing. He told Pyxis a story about how his father had been killed by the Military Police for his unorthodox line of thinking. His father had a theory that the King had altered the memories of humanity when they entered the Walls in order to make them easier to rule. Erwin came to realize that the people in the government were not interested in protecting humanity so much as their land and wealth, and they would kill anyone who threatened that authority.
Hange and Moblit arrived shortly thereafter with the results of Sannes's interrogation, and Erwin informed Pyxis that Historia is part of the true royal family and the Scouts were currently trying to rescue her. They would put her on the throne in place of the false King. On hearing this, Pyxis agreed to back Erwin's plan.
After Pyxis left, Erwin handed Hange the results of his investigation into the Reiss family. One of his soldiers then came in to inform him that the Interior Police were making a ruckus out in the city, saying that Erwin organized a murder. Erwin ordered Hange to get away while he acted as the face of their organization. He informed her that she will be the next commander of the Scout Regiment and placed the Scouts under her command.
Dawn had arrived by the time Erwin met the MPs outside. They were standing around the body of Dimo Reeves. Roger addressed Erwin and concocted a story about how Reeves kidnapped Eren so that the Scouts would not have to turn him over to the government. Then the Scouts killed Reeves to keep him from talking. The MP charged Erwin and the Scouts with a violation of clause six of the Humanity Charter; prioritizing one's gain over the safety and longevity of humanity. For this, all Scouts were to be apprehended. Hange and Moblit escaped, but the rest of the Scouts at headquarters were arrested.
Shortly thereafter, Hange rescued Flegel Reeves from the Interior Police and tried to convince him to publicly reveal the truth behind his father's death. However, he was terrified that doing so would get him killed.
Later that day, Flegel and Hange staged a confession by allowing Flegel to be chased by the Interior Police into a dead end between some rundown buildings. He asked the lead MP why the Interior Police killed his father. Roger told to him that Dimo Reeves betrayed them by siding with the Scouts, and he admits that Flegel's father had been forced to participate in the kidnapping. He also explained that if Reeves had refused to help, he would have been killed for knowing too much.
Hange and Moblit then attacked the Interior Military Police to subdue them and asked if everyone heard his words. Roger looked up to see that the damaged buildings were actually heavily populated. However, he sputtered that the witnesses would not matter because the government would decide the truth. Flegel sat on the man's head to end his ranting and declared himself the new boss of the Reeves Company, which would protect this city. Hange congratulated him on his new job and the reporters Roy and Peaure were among the onlookers.
Flegel later convinced Roy to report the truth, even though he was initially reluctant, and together the two reporters exposed the corruption within the government.
Audience with the King
That night, Nile visited Erwin in his cell to let him know that he had an audience with the King. He and the Scout Regiment would be dealt with at the same time. Erwin had been beaten and was chained to the wall, but despite his present situation, he warned Nile that he had left something up to Pyxis and that both Nile and the government officials would soon have to make a choice.
Erwin was then brought before the King and ranking members of the government. He defended the value of the Scout Regiment as a weapon against the Titans. If Wall Rose was breached there could be a civil war between the people of Wall Rose and Wall Sina due to the lack of food. The Scouts would be needed in order to reclaim Wall Maria, which would alleviate shortages.
The assembly was unmoved, and redirected the conversation to the Charter of Humanity: "Thou shall not prioritize one's own gain over the longevity of humanity." Erwin had repeatedly refused to hand over Eren Jaeger and they viewed that as a violation because Eren was too risky to allow a single commander to control. They announced their judgment and called for his immediate execution at the gallows erected outside.
As the Military Police prepared to take him away, Anka Rheinberger burst into the room and announced that the Colossal and Armored Titan had breached Wall Rose at Calaneth District. Refugees were already on their way.
Pyxis called for the establishment of an evacuation route. But after he roused his soldiers, Aurille countermanded his order and called for the closure of the gates to Wall Sina. Nile protested that it would mean cutting off all the residents of Wall Rose. He asked if they planned to watch as half of humanity died, but Aurille was only concerned about the possibility of a civil war and was willing to take no chances that one could happen. Nile refused the order, calling himself a human of Wall Rose, and he would not allow the gates to be closed.
Dhalis Zachary then entered the audience hall with an armed escort and announced that he would stand behind Nile. The premier revealed that the breach of Wall Rose was a false announcement and Pyxis explained that he was the mastermind behind this. He would have been happy to leave things to the government if that was the better choice for humanity, but even though the military knew less about Titans than they did, they could save more people than the government ever would.
The officials protested that the public would not let this slide, but Zachary revealed that the newspapers had published the truth about the false King and how the Royal Government had framed the Scout Regiment. His soldiers then arrested the members of the government and Erwin was set free.
Later that same day, Zachary made a public announcement atop the gallows where Erwin was to be executed, informing the citizens of Mitras that the military had seized control of the government. Nile explained to the reporters present that the military intended to install a new ruler from the true royal family rather than rule themselves.
As Erwin rode away in a carriage with Zachary, he had second thoughts about the coup d'état. He asked Zachary why he had supported it, and Zachary admitted he hated the King and his men. Zachary had meant to betray them at some point in his life, and whether the coup was good or bad for humanity was of no interest to him. He pointed out that Erwin felt the same and Erwin did not disagree. He told Zachary about a dream he had from when he was a child.
On the run
Concurrent to Erwin's audience, and unaware of its eventual result, Squad Levi had arrived in Stohess District and found the Military Police handing out fliers detailing the arrest of the Scout Regiment. They camped in the woods while trying to come up with a plan to save Eren and Historia, but prepared an ambush when they heard footsteps approach. By doing this they successfully captured Marlo Freudenberg and Hitch Dreyse of the Military Police Regiment, who had been sent out to arrest rogue members of the Scouts. Levi planned to have two members of his squad disguise themselves and infiltrate the Military Police to find out where Eren had been taken.
However, Marlo offered to go himself, so he could correct any injustice being done. Levi declined, being uncertain whether Marlo was truly willing to make an enemy of the government. Jean asked if he could be the one to tie them up and led Marlo and Hitch away under the false pretense of murdering them to keep their mouths shut. When Marlo did not fight against him, even when he managed to get a hold of Jean's knife, Jean decided his intentions were sincere and the pair were allowed to help.
Hitch and Marlo led Squad Levi to the least manned checkpoint. The squad was able to break through it and capture a member of the Interior Police in the process. After night fell, Levi interrogated the soldier, but did not get anything useful out of the man other than Kenny Ackermann's full name, which was a surprise for both Levi and Mikasa.
The squad prepared for an ambush on hearing people approach, but the newcomers turned to be Hange and Moblit. They brought news of the coup d'état's success and the exoneration of the Scout Regiment, thanks to the newspapers printing the true story of what happened over the last few days.
Hange also had an idea regarding where Eren and Historia were taken. She took out the book Erwin had given to her earlier, which contained a report on the Reiss family. The night Wall Maria fell, the only chapel in the area was supposedly burned to the ground by bandits who had murdered the Reiss family while they prayed inside. Only Rod Reiss escaped alive. However, the building was made of stone, so destroying it would take a lot of effort for a group of bandits who had come for a robbery. After its destruction, Rod Reiss paid to have it rebuilt immediately. In addition to that, Rod Reiss reconnected with Historia only a few days after the death of the rest of his family. Levi concluded that it was likely because there was something special about her bloodline.
Meanwhile, Pyxis met with Erwin and the Scouts who had been released from imprisonment. Pyxis informed Erwin that all the captured government officials were saying the same thing, that the Reiss family must be able to alter humanity's memories. If Rod Reiss got a hold of Eren's "Scream," the entire coup could be undone. Erwin took the soldiers with him, and they rode for the chapel to find Eren.
Battle of the chapel
Levi, Hange, and their subordinates arrived at the chapel ahead of the other Scouts and prepared to face the Anti-Personnel Control Squad, which was waiting for them in the underground chamber below. The group sent barrels of gunpowder and bags of oil down the stairs, setting fire to them to fill the chamber with smoke, reducing visibility and the usefulness of firearms. After a concerted attack, the Scouts managed to drive back the Anti-Personnel Control Squad and chased them deeper into the cavern.
As his rescuers were preparing to retrieve him, Eren woke up to find himself gagged and chained in an underground cavern. Historia and Rod Reiss helped him recover memories he had inherited from his father, Grisha Jaeger. On the night Wall Maria fell, Grisha found the Reiss family beneath the chapel and transformed into a Titan. He ate Historia's sister Frieda in order to steal her Titan and slew all other members of the Reiss family except for Rod.
The First Reiss King had used the Founding Titan to create the three Walls and altered humanity's memories. If Frieda had lived, she could have prevented their current problems, but the Founding Titan now resided inside of Eren and Rod wanted to transfer that power to Historia, because it could only be fully used by descendants of the Reiss family.
Kenny Ackermann entered the cavern to express his disappointment that he would be unable to use the power himself. Disgusted with Rod's attempt at generosity and Historia's self-righteousness, Kenny left them alone and walked over to Eren. He removed his gag and cut his forehead so Eren would be wounded and able transform, hoping that Eren and Historia would then fight to the death. But Eren did not. Feeling guilty over his father's actions and how many people had already died to protect him, Eren asked Historia to eat him to save humanity.
Historia remembered Ymir's words to live a life she would be proud of, and decided to smash the syringe that would have changed her into a Titan that could devour Eren. She threw her father over her shoulder to leave him groaning on the floor and grabbed his bag with the injection materials and ran to free Eren. Distraught over the betrayal, Rod licked the contents of the broken syringe as he lay on the floor, causing himself to transform into a Titan. The winds created by his transformation were strong enough to blow Historia away before she could free Eren.
However, Levi and his squad arrived in time to save her and get the keys to Eren's chains. They worked together to free him and managed to do so before a chunk of the ceiling smashed into the outcropping where he was chained moments ago. The ceiling began to cave in due to the sheer size of Rod's Titan and the squad's escape was blocked. Eren apologized for his uselessness, but Levi and Historia goaded him into taking matters into his own hands. He got up and grabbed a bottle labeled "Armor" that had fallen out of Rod's bag and broke it between his teeth as he transformed into a Titan. This allowed him to harden his Titan and create pillar-like structures that supported the collapsing cavern without disappearing even after he was extracted.
The group climbed out through the opening made by the collapse and followed Rod Reiss's Titan on wagon and horseback. Eren suggested allowing himself to be eaten again since Rod Reiss was of the right bloodline, but Historia argued against it. Now that the Founding Titan had been taken away from the Reiss family, humanity had an unprecedented chance to change things.
Battle of Orvud District
The group reunited with Erwin and fell back to Orvud District to prepare for the Titan's arrival. To prevent the Titan from circumventing Orvud and going straight for the larger population in Mitras, the Scouts convinced the Garrison not to evacuate the city and to prepare to fight. While there, Levi informed Historia of Erwin's plan to crown her as the new Queen. She agrees under the condition that she be allowed to do things her way, and thus joins her squad at the strategy meeting while geared like any other soldier.
As dawn arrived, Historia took to the top of the Wall to participate in the battle, against Erwin's wishes. She was determined not to be a ruler in name alone. Meanwhile, Hange, Moblit, and members of the Special Operations Squad stacked barrels of gunpowder together on a net of rope in preparation for the arrival of Rod Reiss's Titan. They also prepared two small carts carrying a load of gunpowder with triggers and a harpoon-like anchor that could be reeled in like omni-directional mobility gear.
When the gargantuan Titan arrived, the Garrison used their cannons to shell it, but were unable to do any lasting damage. As the Titan reached the base of Wall Sina, the wind changed, blowing hot air from the Titan's body up to the Garrison soldiers on top of the Wall. The Titan began to climb, buttressing its oversized body against the Wall for support as it lifted itself upright. Levi dismissed the Garrison soldiers and the Scouts took over the defense. They drenched themselves in water to stave off the heat and Eren transformed into his Titan.
At Erwin's signal, Sasha Braus and Armin fired their carts laden with gunpowder into the Titan's hands, knocking it off balance. Eren then charged forward with the net containing the barrels of gunpowder. He hurled it into the open mouth of the Titan, which was hot enough to cause the gunpowder to spontaneously combust. The Titan's head and upper body exploded, sending chunks of the Titan flying into the air.
The Scouts, including Historia, used their omni-directional mobility gear to attack the scattered pieces in hopes of finding the nape before the Titan could regenerate. Historia reflected on her choices and how this would be her first fight with her parents. She cut through the correct piece, finishing off her father and ending his reign. When she was greeted by the citizens of Orvud, she declared herself as the true ruler of the Walls.
Historia was crowned Queen of the Walls, though in practice the military became the true power of the state. However, even as a figurehead, Historia was admired by the people for having vanquished the Titan and being a caring individual. Meanwhile, the military imprisoned those of the old order.
The shining stones from the underground chapel became a new source of light for the population and Eren's newfound hardening powers led to the development of Hange's Executioner from Hell, which allowed the military to begin killing Titans without risking the lives of its soldiers.
Due to the successful coup, the Scout Regiment enjoyed a number of transfers from other branches of the military. Among them was Marlo Freudenberg, who left the Military Police. When the Scouts eventually left Trost District to retake Shiganshina, they did so with the full support of the Walls' people.