|We made use of hatred. We let it grow. We believed it would save us... We took every problem caused by our shortcomings and spat them all out onto an "island of devils." And the result... was the birth of that monster... who has now come to repay us for all of the hate we've ever shown... If it's possible... for us to ever have a future again. I will never make the same mistakes... I swear it. If we ever see... another tomorrow...|
|— A Marleyan leader regrets the misdeeds of his nation|
In the Depths of Despair (絶望の淵にて Zetsubō no Fuchi Nite?) is the 4th and final chapter of the 33rd volume and the 134th chapter overall of the Attack on Titan manga, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama.
The Marleyan military makes its final stand against the advancing Wall Titans, using a squadron of airships from Fort Salta. The fort commander intends to bombard them from on high, but a surprise movement from the Attack Titan causes him to prematurely begin the attack. The Beast Titan forms from the Attack Titan's spine and attacks the airships with repeated volleys of debris that break through their hulls and canisters of explosives. It single-handedly destroys the entire squadron.
The refugees who had hoped to escape via airship fall into despair, but the flying boat carrying the Warrior Unit and the Survey Corps arrives. Low on fuel, Onyankopon refuses to leave the plane and pledges to get them close enough for the combined team to jump. Armin Arlert calls out the Beast Titan as their target. On the way down Reiner Braun transforms into the Armored Titan to protect the others from the Beast Titan's barrage as the Survey Corps grapple on to one of the Founding Titan's spines and Pieck Finger lands as the Cart Titan, carrying a belt of explosives.
In her cabin, surrounded by attendants, Historia Reiss goes into labor.
Elsewhere in the world, the people of various nations are being flattened by the advance of the Wall Titans.
In Marley, the Eldian refugees from Liberio and their Marleyan engineer arrive at Fort Salta only to discover that the Marleyan military has launched all of their airships, leaving them no means to escape. Above them, the squadron of airships serves as a final line of defense against the Titans.
The fort commander uses a loudspeaker to address his soldiers, and is heard by those on the ground below. He acknowledges the desperation of their circumstances and how their long years of justifying their hatred gave birth to the monster that they now face. If they see a tomorrow, he will not make that mistake again.
His words reach Karina Braun, who remembers Reiner's childhood years and how he became a Warrior to make her happy. She falls to her knees as she realizes how she had used her son and turned him into a tool for revenge. Mr. Leonhart kneels besides her, knowing exactly how she feels.
The fort spots movement from the Attack Titan and a glow appears between the spines on its back. This prompts the commander to prematurely call for a bombardment out of fear they will be too late, but the airships' altitude is too high and the squadron too spread out to do the damage they had hoped for.
Between the spines, dangling from strands of Titan flesh, is a partially formed furry Titan. It clenches its hands and hurls fistfuls of debris up at the airship squadron, breaching their explosives. Now fully formed as the Beast Titan, it continues its volleys until it succeeds in downing the entire squadron.
The refugees sink into despair and Mr. Leonhart tries to take comfort in the idea that Annie and Reiner are alive on Paradis Island. Karina agrees and says that is enough for her as they wait for the end.
But one of the children with them spots a flying boat heading their way.
Onyankopon struggles with the controls since they are almost out of fuel. Armin Arlert wants Onyankopon to come with them since they are about to jump, but Onyankopon insists on flying them right above the Founding Titan and plans to make an emergency landing afterward.
The Beast Titan hurls debris at the flying boat, and Onyankopon tries to dodge, but the left wing is hit and the pontoon broken off. The passengers in the hold are rattled around and though he cannot see exactly what happened, Levi Ackerman realizes that the barrage means the Beast Titan is here.
Since they no longer need to search for Zeke Yeager, Armin calls out the Beast Titan as the target of their attack. When Onyankopon gets them close enough, the combined Survey Corps and Warrior Unit jump out of the flying boat. The Beast Titan tries killing them with another shot of debris, but Reiner dives in front and transforms into the Armored Titan. He grabs the Beast Titan and slams it down into the backbone of the Founding Titan.
Meanwhile the Survey Corps shoot the hooks of their vertical maneuvering equipment into the nearest spine to arrest their fall. Pieck Finger lands last, transforming into the Cart Titan and holding a long belt of explosives.
The refugees are surprised to see that the Warriors have returned and with enemy forces from Paradis. Karina is in tears knowing her son is here.
As the head of Eren's Titan turns back to look at them, Armin says that he has one more question for him. What is it about Eren that is free? He can answer after they force him out.