Marley's Paradis Island Surprise Attack (パラディ島奇襲作戦 Paradi-tō Kishū Sakusen?) is a counterattack launched by the Marleyan military and Warriors against Paradis Island in retaliation for Eren Jaeger's raid on Liberio.
Delayed preparations for the Rumbling
With the Founding Titan in Eren Jaeger's possession and Zeke Jaeger acting as a Titan of royal blood, Paradis Island acquired full potential use for the Founding Titan to awaken the Titans within the Walls and begin the Rumbling whenever necessary as deterrence against foreign invaders. News of Eldia victory in Liberio was quickly announced to the public, leading to much rejoicing among the civilians with particular praise going to Eren. Funerals were held for the nine Scouts who died in the raid on Liberio, and captives Gabi Braun and Falco Grice were made into prisoners of war, though they would quickly escape from their captivity to wander the southwestern territory of Wall Rose.
After providing the Paradis military with a large supply of Titan injections stolen from Marley, Commander Dot Pyxis reluctantly placed the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers under collective house arrest due to a distrust of the group - particularly regarding Zeke and Yelena. Meanwhile, Zeke remained under Captain Levi Ackermann's supervision along with a group of thirty other Scouts in a Forest of Giant Trees.
Eren's insubordinate behavior before and during the raid on Liberio was a cause for significant tension in the Paradis military. As punishment for insubordination, Eren was confined to indefinite underground imprisonment, though Eren claimed openly that his newly acquired abilities from the War Hammer Titan could allow for him to escape whenever he wanted. While Eren remained imprisoned, Yelena would covertly have wine laced with Zeke's spinal fluid sent from Marley to Paradis and dispersed to high-ranking military officials.
After escaping into the wilderness, Gabi and Falco were taken in by the Braus family in Dauper village where they posed as runaway children named "Mia" and "Ben." Despite their facade, adopted Blouse daughter Kaya overheard conversations identifying them as Marleyan Warriors, though she kept their true nature a secret. Wanting to help them, Kaya offered to take them with her family to a restaurant staffed by a fellow Marleyan who could help them return home.
Global hostility against Eldia
As Willy Tybur had hoped and planned for, the deaths of countless ambassadors present in Liberio during the raid led to many nations to see Paradis Island as a genuine threat. The major nations pledged support to Marley, forming a global military alliance that was preparing to conduct a scorched-earth operation against Paradis within six months. Despite the international support, Reiner Braun felt that Zeke would not remain idle and knew that the Marleyan army would not strike back suddenly, but take their time to consolidate their forces. Reiner then proposed they strike immediately against Paradis with a surprise attack.
Despite increased global tensions against Paradis, the alliance between Eldia and Hizuru remained steadfast. Hizuru's research into previously acquired Iceburst stone from Paradis culminated in a flying boat which would be used by Kiyomi Azumabito and her fellow ambassadors from Hizuru to witness the Rumbling in action from a safe vantage.
Rise of the Jaegerists
Against the wishes of the Paradis military, several Scouts leaked information of the imprisonment of Eren and the volunteers to the public, causing a significant amount of outrage in the civilian and military population alike. Opponents of Eren's imprisonment criticized the military's secretive nature against the public where they had once been proponents of full disclosure. The information leaks were traced back to Scouts Floch Forster, Louise, Holger, and Wim, of whom Floch expressed their collective belief that Eren should rule Eldia as the Founding Titan and bring their nation to new glory. Unrepentant of their actions, all four were then jailed for insubordination.
While public tensions rose, Pyxis began interrogation of Anti-Marleyan Volunteer Yelena for suspected collaboration with Eren before his departure into Marley ten months prior. She expressed her motives as being an admiration for Eren and Zeke, claiming to want Eren to pursue his ambitions freely without the restraint of military authority. Pyxis was unconvinced by her case and continued to press for the truth of her motives. Meanwhile, Scout Commander Hange Zoë meets with the benevolent Anti-Marleyan Volunteer Onyankopon, from whom they learned that Yelena's motives remained a mystery even to her fellow Volunteers.
Due to Eren's insubordination, the highest authorities of the Paradis military arranged plans for him to be fed to a Titan to whom his Titan powers would be passed, believing Eren to be working with Zeke against Eldia's best interests. This information eventually spread to Eren's followers who then began conspiring to overthrow military authority in order for Eren to seize control of Paradis. These followers, who would gain the public moniker of "the Jaegerists," began by bombing Premier Dhalis Zachary by hiding explosives in his custom-made torture chair which he kept in his office. Zachary's death was well-received by the public, who eagerly awaited Eren's rise to power.
Meanwhile, Pieck would further infiltrate the island while gathering intel.
Around the time of (or shortly after) Premier Zachary's death, Eren made use of his newly acquired War Hammer Titan powers to escape from his underground imprisonment along with at least one hundred of his followers. Upon his escape, Eren and the Jaegerists began preparations to reunite with Zeke. Anticipating this reunion, the Paradis military ensured the security of Zeke as well as Queen Historia Reiss, who could act as a successor to Zeke as a Titan of royal blood.
Recognizing the ability of the Jaegerists to hide within plain sight among them, Commander Pyxis proposed a full surrender to the Jaegerists in order to negotiate Zeke's location and plan Rumbling experiments to prevent further loss of Eldian life through prolonged rebellion.
With further suspicions as to what the ultimate long-term plan of the Jaegerists could be, Commander Hange proposed further investigation into the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers, this time turning to Nicolo who had worked at a restaurant. Arriving at the same time as the Braus family, Gabi and Falco met with Nicolo and explained their situation. Recognizing Gabi as the girl who murdered Sasha Braus, Nicolo fell into a rage and attempted to strike her with a wine bottle laced with Zeke's spinal fluid; however, Falco shielded her from the blow and ended up ingesting the fluid himself. In his panic, Nicolo revealed to the Scouts present the truth of the laced wine.
While the soldiers attempted to rinse Falco's mouth and body of the spinal fluid, the Jaegerists led by Eren arrived at the restaurant following a tip provided by Greiz, a Marleyan POW and an Anti-Marleyan Volunteer. The Jaegerists detained all present members of the Scout Regiment while elsewhere taking the members of the Paradis military who drank Zeke's spinal fluid into their captivity. After a private conversation between Eren, Mikasa, and Armin where Eren rejected his friendship with the two, the Jaegerists left for Shiganshina District to rendezvous with Zeke.
News of the Jaegerists' control over Paradis Island was sent to Captain Levi. Rejecting Pyxis's proposal of negotiations concerning Zeke, Levi prepared to capture a Jaegerist and have them eat Zeke to deny the Jaegerists of their goal. However, Zeke instead seized the opportunity to attempt an escape. With a scream, Zeke transformed the thirty soldiers with Levi who had drunk the laced wine into Titans, taking a small escort with him out of the forest while the rest attacked Levi. Zeke's Titans were quickly killed by Levi, forcing Zeke into his Beast Titan form to defend himself. Using tree branches as distraction, Levi struck Zeke's hardened nape with several Thunder Spears, dismembering him and taking him captive once more.
Placing a Thunder Spear into Zeke's abdomen, Zeke was forced to remain motionless lest he detonate the spear and kill himself. In a desperate move, Zeke detonated the spear regardless, nearly killing himself and critically injuring Levi. However, a single surviving Titan approached Zeke's body and placed it in its abdomen where by unexplained means Zeke's body slowly recovered itself.
Arriving in Shiganshina District, the captives of the Jaegerists were confined to cells beneath the district's military headquarters. Shortly afterward, group of the Jaegerists led by Floch along with a captive Hange confronted the 109th Cadet Corps and Instructor Keith Sadies. Seeking further support for Eren's cause, Floch urged the cadets to reject the authorities of the military and follow Eren as their true leader. Support for Eren was overwhelming, and as initiation into the Jaegerists, Floch had the cadets beat Commandant Sadies severely before commanding Hange to lead his group to Zeke's location.
Levi and Zeke were soon found by Floch's group. Investigating Levi's wounds, Hange claimed Levi was dead due to being caught point-blank of a Thunder Spear explosion, but upon insistence of further inspection by Floch they fled into a nearby river with Levi's body. As some soldiers pursued Hange and Levi, Floch met with the newly recovered Zeke and the remaining Jaegerists prepared to rendezvous with Eren back in Shiganshina.
With the military in captivity, Yelena oversaw the categorization of those present in the city: military prisoners who had not drunk Zeke's spinal fluid-laced wine were given red armbands, military prisoners who had drunk the wine were given black armbands, and the Jaegerists were given white armbands to distinguish them from the prisoners. Yelena then visited Eren's former comrades in the Scout Regiment and revealed their true goal: to have Zeke and Eren use the power of the Founding Titan to sterilize the Subjects of Ymir, beginning "Eldia's euthanasia" and letting the people of Eldia live in peace until no more are left on the earth.
In Shiganshina District, Eren Jaeger began preparations to have Gabi Braun call out any infiltrators in the Walls who may desire to help her, but his plans were interrupted when he is confronted by Pieck. Knowing she would be unable to defeat Eren alone, she claimed the desire to cooperate with Eren against Marley, agreeing to point out the location of Marleyan infiltrators from the rooftop of the military headquarters in the city. As they traveled to the rooftop, Porco Galliard awaited below disguised as a Jaegerist where he would strike at Eren from below.
Eren anticipated the attack, losing only his legs when the Jaw Titan broke through the roof from beneath him. The Jaw Titan's ambush was accompanied by the arrival of five Marleyan airships above Shiganshina carrying the Warriors and a small Marleyan strike force led by the newly promoted General Theo Magath. Additional airships were stationed south of Shiganshina awaiting Marleyan retreat.
Marleyan paratroopers equipped with new anti-Titan rifles descended on Shiganshina along with a large anti-Titan cannon for Pieck's Cart Titan. With Galliard's help, Pieck was unchained from Gabi, allowing her to transform into the Cart Titan and escape with Gabi to rendezvous with the Marleyan forces. Despite the Jaegerists urging for him to seek shelter, Eren decided to confront Marley head-on.
The Attack Titan approaches the Marleyan forces and spots Reiner Braun transform into the Armored Titan as he descends. As Gabi reunited with Colt Grice, Pieck informed General Magath that approximately 800 Eldian soldiers were present in the city: 500 Jaegerists and 300 wine-marked prisoners. Concluding that Zeke must be the royal Titan needed to activate the Founding Titan, Magath declared that Marley would take the Founding Titan in that moment.
The Armored Titan and the Jaw Titan struck together against the Attack Titan, but Eren's new abilities with the War Hammer Titan prevented the two from landing any critical blows. Despite his efforts, the Cart Titan's anti-Titan cannon manned by General Magath hit its mark in the Attack Titan's brain, temporarily crippling Eren Jaeger. Seeing Eren in trouble, Jaegerist soldiers equipped with Thunder Spears were about to attack the Armored Titan and the Jaw Titan Artillery but were ambushed by Marleyan troops and machine fire from the airships over the city which inflicted heavy casualties on the Jaegerist forces.
Seeing the Marleyan forces overwhelming the Jaegerist soldiers, Onyankopon freed Eren's comrades in order for them to help in his defense. Despite tensions, Armin Arlelt recognized Onyankopon's ideology as being contrary to Zeke's, and Armin placed his trust in him.
The Beast Titan arrives
The Beast Titan's bombardments kept the Armored and Jaw Titans at bay and critically damaged all five Marleyan airships overhead, sending them crashing to the ground. Due to the Beast Titan's accuracy and harassment from Jaegerist soldiers led by Floch Forster, the Cart Titan's cannon was unable to retaliate against Zeke.
Despite having the opportunity to escape on the southern airships, Gabi remained with Colt, insisting that she remain to save Falco from their situation.
Trusting that Eren would not follow through with Zeke's euthanasia plan, they agreed to fight alongside the Jaegerists against Marley, freeing the remaining prisoners. Those who had not consumed the wine were equipped with omni-directional mobility gear, while those who had would be led by Commander Pyxis to assist in the fighting on the ground.
As the freed prisoners joined the battle, one of the five downed airships crashes in Shiganshina District's gate to Wall Maria. Reuniting with Gabi and his brother, Falco confessed to his role in unwittingly causing the raid on Liberio by aiding Eren and confesses his feelings for Gabi. Believing Falco's wine-marked condition may be used to prevent Zeke from screaming and transforming the 300 wine-marked prisoners in the city, the three headed to the north gate where the Beast Titan was perched.
In an attempt to strike a blow against the Beast Titan, Pieck emerged from her Cart Titan to create the appearance that she had been killed. While Zeke's guard was down, the Marleyan soldiers escorting the Cart Titan struck against their Jaegerist pursuers, and General Magath landed a critical hit against the Beast Titan, shooting Zeke through the nape and incapacitating him. In the chaos, Pieck transformed again into the Cart Titan and relocated for a better vantage point.
With Zeke on the ground, Reiner and Galliard attempted to restrain Eren to prevent him from coming into contact with Zeke. With Floch's Jaegerists in quick pursuit, Pieck and Magath were unable to provide further artillery support. Pyxis's ground forces planned to strike against the Marleyan paratroopers from behind. Following Pyxis's strategy, Armin proposed striking at the Cart Titan from behind to provide Eren with further assistance.
The struggle against Eren left Galliard critically injured. When Reiner attempted to assist him, the latter saw into his brother Marcel's memories, realizing that his brother purposefully promoted Reiner and belittled him to the Marleyan military in order to protect him. Recovering from his daze, Zeke prepared to summon his Titans until Colt and Falco approached, informing Zeke of Falco's situation.
Despite their pleas, Zeke screamed, and the 300 soldiers who had drunk from his wine transformed into Titans under his control. Colt embraced Falco as he became a Titan, dying immediately from the proximity of the explosive transformation.
The summoning of the Titans
Having killed all their Jaegerist pursuers except for Floch, Pieck and Magath resumed their attacks against Zeke, striking him in the nape a second time. Before another blow could be struck, Armin and Mikasa ambushed the Cart Titan and the Marleyan support troops, disabling the anti-Titan cannon. Leaving the cannon behind, Pieck battled alone against Armin and Mikasa.
Zeke sent Falco's Pure Titan against Reiner to allow for Eren to break free from his restraint. Reiner nearly allowed for Falco to bite through his nape and inherit the Armored Titan until Galliard emerged wounded from his Jaw Titan. Revealing what he saw in his brother's memories, Galliard spitefully declared his superiority over Reiner before letting Falco consume him.
Taking the chance to escape, Eren hardened the Attack Titan and encased Reiner's hand in the crystal while the latter was attacking. He made a run for Zeke who had left the corpse of his Titan as Pieck had. Before Eren could come into contact with Zeke, Gabi took up Colt's anti-Titan rifle and fired at Eren, decapitating him mere feet away from his brother, though his head managed to land in Zeke's outstretched hand.
The Founder's moment
Because Eren's head was able to make contact with Zeke before completely dying they succeeded in activating the Founding Titan and were able to enter the desert realm of the paths. In a split-second within the timeless realm of the paths, Eren was made to understand that Zeke's will as one of royal blood would overrule his own when controlling the power of the Founding Titan contrary to his expectations.
Learning that Eren was opposed to his plan to euthanize the Eldian race, Zeke used the power of the Founding Titan to show Eren the memories of their father Grisha to reveal the truth of his nature. However, the glimpse into Grisha's life revealed his deep love for his new family which overcame his duty as an Eldian Restorationist, and Zeke witnessed his father's long-lasting guilt for how he mistreated him. From within the paths, it became clear to Zeke that Eren had always acted on his own will and not their father's.
From their presence in the paths, Eren was able to pass memories of the future fall of Wall Maria to Grisha by the power of the Attack Titan. Arriving at the memory of Grisha's attack on the underground chapel, Eren and Zeke saw Grisha's conversation with Frieda Reiss and his hesitation to attack the Reiss family.
Approaching their father, Eren demanded that his father fulfill his duty for the sake of everyone he had loved and lost, and through Eren's will Grisha chose to transform and slaughter the Reiss family. Afterward, Grisha saw the vision of Zeke watching him in the paths and apologized for his poor treatment of him as his son. Revealing that he had seen a vision of a ghastly future yet unseen, Grisha begged for the future Zeke to stop Eren. Removing themselves from Grisha's memories, Zeke ordered Ymir to sterilize the Subjects of Ymir, and Eren broke himself free of Zeke's restrain over his will in desperation to stop her.
Eren's contact with Ymir recalled her memories of first inheriting the power of the Titans as a slave of the ancient Eldian tribe and her posthumous fate to forever obey the will of the royal family and the Eldians. Eren urged Ymir to reject Zeke's command and choose to act for herself for the first time in 2,000 years.
With the power of the Titans now entirely at the command of Ymir Fritz's will, Eren's head was reattached to his body the moment it landed in Zeke's hand. Around the battlefield, Wall Maria collapsed, the Wall Titans within awakening as Eren transformed into a Titan once more. Moments later, all Wall Titans within the three Walls had awoken and begun marching to destroy the entire outside world at Eren Jaeger's command.
The sight of the Rumbling's beginnings forced Marley's military deployment to make an immediate retreat in order to warn the mainland of Eren Jaeger's incoming assault, leaving behind any remaining ground forces including General Magath and the Warriors. Meanwhile, the Jaegerists and their freed prisoners were left with Zeke's remaining Titans.
The battle had left Shiganshina devastated once more. Despite Marley's defeat, the Titans created by Zeke continued their rampage through the district. The remaining soldiers lured and killed the remaining Titans, before tending to the injured. With most of the military commanders dead, the Jaegerists re-assumed control of the district. Falco, unconscious from having inherited the Jaw Titan, is kidnapped by Conny to be fed to his mother in Ragako. Meanwhile, Reiner hid in a house inside Shiganshina, and rested to heal the injuries he received when protecting Gabi from the collapsing Walls. Floch had the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers rounded up and given an ultimatum: either join the Eldian Empire or be executed.
Some of the people of Paradis Island were conflicted by Eren's decision to activate the Rumbling, with some of them angered by the loss of their homes and loved ones from when the Walls crumbled. Eren's close friends were also conflicted by Eren's decision and spent time unsure with how to react. Sometime later, Armin left with Gabi to rescue Falco, hoping that saving him would prevent any conflict with the surviving Warriors.
Hange and Levi, having killed the Jaegerists pursuing them and tended to Levi's wounds, encountered the retreating General Magath and Pieck. With both groups opposed to the Rumbling and looking to locate Zeke, they were able to form a makeshift alliance. The activation of the Rumbling, that had caused all Titan hardening to be undone, inadvertently destroyed Annie's crystal and forcibly released her. She convinced Hitch, the first person she came across, to ride her to Shiganshina, also hoping to stop the Rumbling.
Armin and Gabi rescued Falco from Connie; the group made up and affirmed their resolve to oppose Eren. By coincidence, Armin's group encountered Annie in town and also allied. Jean and the Cart Titan used a subterfuge in order to take Onyankopon and Yelena from the Jaegerists, while Mikasa joined with Armin's group to recruit Reiner. With the relevant parties united, the group planned to make for the island's harbor the following day.