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|That's right, nobody's in the wrong. There's nothing we could do. Because this world... ...is just... ...that cruel.|
|— Bertholdt Hoover's final thoughts as he prepares to transform into the Colossal Titan|
Months ago, during the Struggle for Trost, Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover watched Eren Jaeger prepare to plug the breach in Wall Rose with a giant boulder. Bertholdt was concerned that Eren would be eaten before the two of them could learn anything about him, and Reiner agreed, saying that if it came to it, he would have to do something with his Titan. Though Eren's success would undo the work they did to open the hole, Reiner said it would not matter since they finally found a clue after searching for the past five years.
Just then, Marco Bodt came across Reiner and Bertholdt, and asked them what they were talking about, particularly regarding Reiner's Titan and Bertholdt's reference to the hole they opened. Reiner tried to pass off their conversation as a joke and Marco left after reprimanding them to focus on the battle. But as Marco left, he thought about how Eren could transform into a Titan, and pieced together that the Colossal Titan must also be a human due to how it was able to appear and disappear so quickly.
Before Marco could get far, Reiner attacked him, pinning him to the roof of a building. Marco called for help from a weary Annie Leonhart when she landed on the roof in front of him and asked what was going on. Reiner explained to her that Marco overheard their conversation and they cannot let him live.
As a Titan approached them, Reiner ordered her to take off Marco's omni-directional mobility gear. Frustrated and upset, she asked why she had to do it, and Reiner questioned her loyalty, due to the fact she had risked her life to save Conny Springer in the supply depot. Reiner ordered her to prove she had not become attached to this "evil race."
Despite her agitation, Annie removed Marco's gear, and he realized from one of their earlier conversations that Annie had always been on the side of Reiner and Bertholdt. Their work done, the Warriors abandoned Marco alone on the roof. Once they were far enough away, the three of them turned around in time to see Marco being devoured, and Reiner changed to his soldier persona, wondering why Marco was being eaten.
Months later, at night on top of the Wall in Shiganshina District, Zeke assures Reiner and Bertholdt that Annie is doing fine, and it is unlikely that she is being tortured. Reiner is doubtful, and regardless, Annie's identity was still revealed. Zeke then inquiries if the two of them are not fully committed, and if he and Reiner will need to fight again, but if they do and Reiner loses, he will have to give up his armor to another Warrior.
When Reiner backs down, Zeke tells him to pull himself together so they can focus on their goal of recovering the Coordinate and putting an end to this "cursed history." Bertholdt thinks back on losing Annie and Marco, and agrees.
From the ground below, the quadruped-type Titan carrying a load of cargo calls up to War Chief Zeke and warns him that enemy troops are approaching. With this news, the Warriors prepare to settle matters once and for all. Reiner kicks theirs mugs and pot off the Wall and calls for Bertholdt to head off with him. They go over their plan, which will have them in different positions, so Reiner tells Bertholdt that he will have to able to act on his own, without necessarily waiting for Reiner to signal. Even though Bertholdt is supposed to have the greatest ability among the Warriors, he has left it up to others when it really matters.
However, Reiner feels that has changed now, and they are truly going to end everything. Bertholdt takes on a determined expression and agrees. Reiner then teases him about how even Annie would likely fall for a guy who rushes in to save her, and he tells Bertholdt that they will still save Christa no matter what, as part of their promise to Ymir. The two Warriors part ways to opposite sides of the Wall and take their positions.
Later on, the battle has begun and from his hiding spot, Bertholdt is aware that it has been a while since Reiner has transformed. However, Reiner has not signaled him and Bertholdt is worried about his friend's well being, unaware that the Scout Regiment is currently cheering over having blown Reiner's head off with their Thunder Spears. The nape of the Armored Titan has been blown open with Reiner's partially decapitated body protruding from the back of its neck.
Though Jean Kirschtein nervously laughs in relief, he notices that Conny Springer and Sasha Braus have begun crying and he yells at them to try to get them accept that they are the ones who killed Reiner.
Hange Zoë prepares the troops to get ready for another round of attack. Meanwhile, Mikasa Ackermann notices that Armin Arlelt is being quiet, and he tells her that they did not have any chance to negotiate. Their side lacks so much information and they do not have the power to capture someone who can turn into a Titan, so there was nothing they could do.
Suddenly, Reiner's Armored Titan lifts its head and lets out a roar. In a barrel on the quadruped Titan's body, Bertholdt recognizes it as the signal. The Beast Titan picks up the barrel and hurls it over the Wall into Shiganshina as Hange calls for her squad to blow Reiner's body to bits. However, Armin recognizes the roar as a signal and spots the incoming barrel. He warns Hange that they need to get away from Reiner before Bertholdt transforms into the Colossal and blows them all away.
The Scouts retreat from Reiner as Bertholdt prepares to transform, but he spots Reiner's Titan and sees that the body of his friend is exposed. Bertholdt bursts out of the barrel, but rather than transforming, he hooks his ODM into a building and swings around to land on the Armored Titan's shoulder. He discovers that Reiner is still alive, thanks to redistributing his consciousness from his head to his Titan's body as a last resort.
Bertholdt asks Reiner to do something for him, and to prepare for the worst if he is unable to comply. Then he approaches the Scouts to finish the fight. Moblit Berner calls out Bertholdt's impending arrival and Hange lays out a strategy only for Armin to approach her and ask that they try to negotiate. Armin uses his ODM to rush ahead of her and calls out to Bertholdt, asking that they talk this over.
In turn, Bertholdt asks that if they do, would Armin's side agree to die. The Warriors want two things; Eren and the demise of humanity within the Walls. When Armin pushes him for who decides those conditions are necessary, Bertholdt replies that it is his own call. Armin tries to deceive Bertholdt again with a story about Annie being tortured, but this time Bertholdt refuses to listen and suggests that it is possible that Armin is lying. Armin tries to leave, but Bertholdt lands on the roof in front of him to stop him.
Bertholdt asks if Armin tried talking to him about Annie again because Bertholdt is supposed to be meek and timid. He understands that Armin is trying to buy time, letting the Scout Regiment soldiers surround them and allowing others to run off and finish Reiner. Armin asks why Bertholdt bothered talking then, if he knew what they were doing, and Bertholdt says that he needed to know whether he would start whining and begging for forgiveness if he faced his old comrades again. But he is fine now. They are precious to him, but he is also able to kill them.
Armin asks if that is because they are spawn of the devil, and Bertholdt says that they have done nothing wrong, and they are not devils either, but they still have to die. That is just how it is.
As he finishes speaking, Mikasa ambushes him from behind, but Bertholdt gets his blade up fast enough to block her, only losing an ear as he kicks her down the roof. He tries to finish off Armin, but Mikasa throws one of her blades and forces Bertholdt to retreat. She warns Armin not to chase him because they do not know when he will transform. Armin is doubtful though, because doing so would finish off Reiner. Mikasa rubs her arm and wonders if that was really Bertholdt, because he seemed like a different person.
Meanwhile Hange's squad approaches the Armored Titan to finish off Reiner, but they find the Titan laying on its back with its nape protected, so they are unable to get to him.
Bertholdt zips through Shiganshina and ponders the emotions flowing through him. He is surpisingly unafraid, and everything is clear to him. Nobody is truly in the wrong, but there is nothing they could have done, because the world is cruel. Bertholdt ascends into the air in preparation to transform to the surprise of the Scouts below. Hange orders her squad to get out, but there is not enough time, and Moblit moves to grab her.
Shiganshina lights up with the flash from Bertholdt's transformation and whole buildings are blown away. Levi Squad is all right though, and Mikasa and Armin rejoin them where they are perched on top of Eren's Titan. The two of them do not know the status of Hange squad, since they were so much closer to Bertholdt. Levi Squad realizes that they may have been the only ones to survive.
Jean asks Armin for a plan as the Colossal Titan begins throwing around burning debris, setting fire to the district. When Mikasa reminds Armin that he is in command, he suggests they fall back to Erwin Smith for new orders, but Jean points out that it will be a disaster if Bertholdt approaches the Wall. If The Colossal Titan throws burning homes on the other side of the Wall it will trap the Scouts there between both fire and the Beast Titan. To his horror, Armin realizes that they will have to defeat Bertholdt right here, where they already are, with the few people that they have.
On top of the Wall, Erwin looks at the Colossal Titan and then over his shoulder at the Beast Titan, wondering if this is what it wanted.
Currently Publicly Available Information
Believed to be a beverage consumed by the Titan shifters while they were camping out. Confirmed to have a pleasant aroma from the remaining liquid found. Its origin is unknown, but this suggests the existence of an 'outside' culture that consumes luxury goods similar to black tea.
Characters in order of appearance
- The official subs translated 「巨人化能力者たち」 (Kyojin-ka nōryoku-sha-tachi, lit. "people who possess the ability to transform into giants") as "Titan shifters." That term was a popular fan-made name for humans who have the Power of the Titans before the official subs adopted it.