The male barracks stank of animal dung while the ceiling blended smoothly into the dark. Adrenaline was still wildly gushing in Jean's veins. His muscles ached from the earlier rescue mission but it was a good ache. Ever since he had joined the Survey Corps, nothing bore him more than being stuck with routine, mundane tasks. Jean truly missed the rushing touch of the wind and the exhilaration of being airborne. To pay for their stay, he had to humble himself to play the given roles. He served the platters when the pub bustled with guests; rolled up his sleeve to wash the plates after the sun settled down the hills; and broke up fights when things got too heated. It did not feel normal for Jean to stay on ground for so long to spend a months on such unproductive work. He needed to ride a horse at full gallop.

Cheers erupted loudly from the pub situated upstairs. It was hardly past midnight and the pub's energy rippled with fervour. Erwin forbade them from touching liquor while Levi made them clean up the mess guest left after drinking.

A glittering sky kept reappearing behind the back of Jean's eyelids as if calling out to him, teasing him to leave the confinements of the room. He was getting irritated by the rustle of bedsheets each time Eren tossed and turned in his bed.

"For God's sake, Eren. Stop moving."

Jean needed peace and tranquillity to sleep, and Eren's restlessness riled him up.

Kicking his blanket aside in frustration, Eren said, "But I can't sleep." He proceded to jump off the hammock, landing on the ground with a light thumped.

"Get back to bed. Levi will have your ass," Jean warned. "It is supposed to resting on the sheets, not wandering around outside the room."

He closed his eyes knowing that Eren was standing beside him, thinking. Jean had somewhat developed a habit of working with Armin and Mikasa to persuade Eren out of trouble. It did not matter who did the catching. As long as Eren was caught in the act, corporal punishment was deemed to follow.

As if to scare the two boys, they heard sudden footsteps skittered down the hallway. Judging from the happy gaits, it was none other than Hange Zoe. Everyone in the dorm immediately woke each other up and stood beside their beds, ready to greet their superior. Slamming the door wide open, Zoe entered into the male dorm and swung the lamp in her hand. "Good. You are all awake. Now, who wants to follow me?" Her eyes were twinkling with slight insanity. It was as if she made a new scientific discovery.

Those whom volunteered tailed after her to the female barracks. Seeing Eren, Mikasa naturally left her bed to follow. Leaving behind the soft rustling of the field, the alert soldiers jogged up the stairs and into the basking yellow light.

"Zoe, dear. You've finally brought the kids," Gurduz, the pub owner grinned. "It healthy to let loose after a hard work. Am I right, my friends?"

"AYE!" shouts erupted all around the tables. Their mugs of ale thumping joyfully on the table tops.

"Aye! Drink's on the house, brothers. Make yourself senseless tonight!" Gurduz laughed.

The Widlez Town tend their fields during the weekdays. The moment the light of dusk dissipates into inky blue on a Friday, the men would drink in pubs, and the women and children would weaved clothing for the upcoming festival but the Survey Corps took it upon themselves to stay sombre – upon Erwin's instructions. Getting drunk in an unknown territory is not a wise thing to do. They were far from their beloved walls and had a dwindling provision. But nevertheless, Zoe needed to maintain favor.

"I will be back before Sunrise," Zoe said. A sip or two would not hurt. It was to give face to the Gurduz and the town folk of Windlez that had grown fond of her antics.

"Promiseee?" the men slurred drunkenly.

Zoe waved her hand, not bothering to answer back. It took some convincing before the Survey Corps could make their leave. Her burning impatient was rubbing onto Jean. His laidback mind had turned curious over the years. Jean could not help but get infected by his squadron leader's enthusiasm.

Erwin and Levi were already in the room. There was a subtle frown on Levi's face. Something about the way their new patrons positioned themselves seemed a bit off. They did not huddle together like a herd of sheep, the way people normally do but were instead scattered across the room in the shape of a pincer. It was as if the were waiting for a misplaced step from them to permit an attack.

More militants entered the room. Elias noticed that almost all the Survey Corps wore the same attire. Short brown jacket, white pants with a dark brown sash covering the hips and knee-high leather boots of the same colour as the sash. Unlike the badges on their jackets, the shirt was of personal touch. Levi, the captain and the shortest of the group wore a white ascot. Zoe, the squadron leader was a woman of tall stature, towering them all with glasses framing her wide eyes. The symbol of leadership, the bolo tie, rested on Commander Erwin.

Elias went up front to extend his hand to the 6 new comers. One by one, Zoe introduced them to Elias and his course mates. The new comers' shock was apparent. They stood speechless as Elias said that they were students from The City. Almost each of them were either an Earl, Baroness, Marquess, Lord, Lady or Elitious. Even behind the safety of Wall Sheena, not many of the privileged class held these titles.

Sensing that the Survey Corps post no danger, Elias hooked his middle finger onto a fore finger, signalling the rest to back up. Albeit outnumbering the Survey Corps by 15 to 9, Elias and his classmates lack fighting experience against these seasoned veterans. They play 'retrieve items' for organisations as part of their education, not head-on attacks on titans. Elias had not even counted the Survey Corps in the barracks. Having one injured duchess was enough. The more injuries there were, the longer the reports he had to produce and he loathes writing to the management with a passion that burned brighter than a wild fire.

Curse the stars for letting their mentor appoint him as the team leader. Curse them for saturating his team with 10 nobles and 2 Elites. Curse Nicolette for not taking up the leadership role. His app estimated a 50-page report to be submitted upon returning home. 20 pages was added due to Nicolette's carelessness. The thought of sitting down to write such a thick portfolio hurt Elias's head. He swiftly let Michaela take over as she, Sahnia and David entered the room with the required equipment. Zoe had an itch to ask questions but refrained from doing so. The girl that Jean rescued was in dire condition. Her curiosity could be sate later.

The equipment was assembled in haste. Michaela's hands trembled even though medical support was her forte. Nothing worried her more than Nicolette's wellbeing. The IV drips temporary sustained her life but wait any longer and it would slip away to the stars of the milky way. Nicolette was Michaela's everything and not even her family can replace that. Without Nicolette's intervention, her chances of surviving The City was close to none. Being chosen as a slave for the Elites guarantee a lifespan of no longer than 20 years. Unless a good impression is made to get one to the top, the stress will eventually kill them.

For a girl her age, Michaela would be better off selling her body in the brothel than serve as an Elite's slave. At least, a steady stream of income goes into her pocket instead of only given four meals a day and a roof to sleep under. Nicolette may be oblivious to how bounded Michaela was to her but she was not going to let anything stop her from protecting her Lady - her duchess.

"Scalpel," Michaela demanded. Nicolette's forehead was as cold and as white as the snow they played with in The City. They might be too late. Michaela had to steel herself and rid her fears to stop her shaking hands. She will not let her duchess life drip away while hers remain a robust fire. If magic will keep Nicolette alive, then let her soul be scorn by men and the Goverment, and fall into the clutches of the hell where the stars do not shine.