|I will inherit the Beast Titan. Not for Marley's sake. I'll execute the plan to retake the Founder. And I'll succeed. After I steal the Founding Titan from Marley...I'll save the world. Just you watch. I'll free the people of the world from their fear of the Titans...and I'll free the Eldians from their suffering. The only way...to save Eldia...is to put us...out of our misery.|
|— Zeke Yeager reveals his views on the world's salvation|
Zeke recalls his childhood and how he was forced to become part of his parents' plan to free Eldia from Marley. He becomes friends with Tom Ksaver, a member of the Titan research team and vows to inherit the Beast Titan from him. He goes on to say he will ensure the success of the plan to take back the Founding Titan. After recalling his memories, Zeke triggers the Thunder Spear, detonating it and catching Levi by surprise.
Grisha and Dina take their young son Zeke atop one of the towers outside the Liberio internment zone and show him the city they live in. Grisha tells Zeke that as Eldians they are forced to live their lives inside what amounts as a birdcage instead of being able to see the rest of the world, and asks him if he would not like to leave that place, with Zeke replying that he does. They are then found by a maintenance man who douses them in water upon seeing their armbands, reproaching them for the Eldians' alleged past crimes and telling them that they should have been exterminated instead of giving birth to more children. As they walk through the streets, amidst more hostility from the Marleyan citizens, Grisha hugs his son and tells him that the outside world is like this, and if he cannot stand it, he is going to have to change it.
The newest batch of Warrior candidates are seen training while two men watch from afar. One of them, Tom Ksaver, asks if his successor will be among them. After noticing Zeke trailing behind the others, the other man, Theo Magath, comments that he does not seem to have the guts to be a Warrior.
After the training, Zeke is taken to his grandparents by his mother and father, who ask him how his training went. He admits it was really tough, but they are confident that he can become a Warrior, since he has a special power, and most of all, he is their son. As he enters the house with his grandmother, Zeke overhears part of the conversation between his grandfather and his parents. Mr. Yeager asks them if those "social dancing club" meetings they go every night to are really that important to prevent them from spending more time with Zeke, but Dina trusts that one day Zeke will understand what they are actually doing for him.
Mr. Yeager tells Zeke the story of the tragic fall of Lago, a large Marleyan city that was destroyed by Titans 1200 years ago, continuing with the devastation of Monte and the ravaging of Valle; all of which were wiped out by the Eldian Empire over the course of a single day, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Marleyans killed. Zeke interrupts the story in annoyance, and his grandfather wonders whether Grisha has been really teaching him Eldia's true history. Zeke replies that Grisha has been telling him the same things he learns at school. Mr. Yeager asks him if he wants to become a Warrior and fight for Marley, and Zeke concurs without conviction. He is taken to his bed by his grandfather, but before leaving, he stares at a picture of his deceased aunt Faye.
A few days pass and after getting his training done early, Zeke notices a father and son playing in the street while walking home. Hoping to do the same with Grisha, Zeke goes to see his father, who instead has him study more about their history.
After he gets belittled by both Magath and several other candidates, Zeke leaves the training area in low spirits. He spots a baseball rolling towards him and Ksaver calling him to pitch it back. Ksaver notices how talented Zeke is in throwing and offers to play catch with him, introducing himself as a Titan researcher as well as the holder of the Beast Titan. Zeke smiles for the first time that day after Ksaver continues to remark on his pitching and plays catch with Ksaver for the rest of the day.
That night, Zeke overhears part of a plan made by both Grisha and Grice and is transcribed to become part of it to try to become a holder of one of the Marleyan Titans. He goes back to the training area, but still falls behind the others: Zeke notices his parents there observing but starts to cry as they leave after seeing him struggle to keep up; unknown to Zeke, Ksaver notices this as well.
Zeke overhears his parents arguing about his performance and later tells Ksaver about this. Ksaver mentions that Zeke did not seem to truly want to be a Warrior and mentions how pointless it would be for him to become one due to the numerous drawbacks; he goes on to say that he became one just so he could understand the mysteries behind the Nine Titans and that as honest people, they are not fit to be fighters.
After overhearing the Marleyan authorities are close to discovering the Eldian Restorationists and a harsh reaction from Grisha, Zeke becomes conflicted and goes to Ksaver for advice. Ksaver then decides the best thing for Zeke is to go to the authorities and accuse his parents, citing their poor treatment of Zeke for all these years. After Zeke eventually does so, he is accepted by his peers.
As time passes, Ksaver's health begins to fade. Zeke and Ksaver discuss what the latter had discovered from his research. Ksaver explains how the Founding Titan can change the composition of the bodies of the Subjects of Ymir, and that this ability was used 600 years ago during an epidemic. Zeke asks if the Founding Titan could alter the Subjects of Ymir so that they could no longer bear children- if no more descendants were born, after 100 years, Titans would have vanished from the world. Ksaver reveals his motivations for becoming the Beast Titan, along with why he joined the Titan research team: to find a grand way to kill himself after losing his wife and child. Zeke resolves to inherit the Beast Titan from Ksaver and to make sure the plan to recover the Founding Titan is successful so he can free the world from the fear of Titans, and free the Eldians from their suffering.
Back in the cart, Zeke finishes recalling his memories of Ksaver; Levi overhears part of his muttering and brushes it aside as delusions. He muses that Zeke being eaten by a Titan seems to be a merciful fate for him after killing so many of his comrades, but Zeke says that he saved the lives of the children they would birth from this cruel world. As Levi stops the wagon and goes to continue cutting off Zeke's growing legs, Zeke suddenly screams out Ksaver's name: then, without warning, he jerks his head back and activates the triggering mechanism of the Thunder Spear lodged in his abdomen. Levi is blown into the air as Zeke's body is split in two by the resulting explosion.
Characters in order of appearance
- "Lago," "Monte" and "Valle" are Italian and Spanish words for geographical places, meaning "lake," "mount" and "valley" respectively.