The scene that was the Honors Ceremony after-party was a mildly subdued one, despite the fact that only the chosen few who had been present for the actual honoring part of the ceremony had any idea as to what was the cause of the tension, and even then, it was only broad speculations that were thrown around the guests and members of the press, with only the nobles and officials who had been present to the end of the honors ceremony having more concrete ideas.
The survivors of the Battle of Shiganshina (minus Eren or Historia, to the suspicion of many), however, retreat to a separate room to talk.
"Any of you brats care to explain what the hell happened between Historia and Eren?" Levi was the first to speak, not willing to let the situation permeate any further. To his annoyance, his question was only met by shrugs and and shared worried looks between them. "Damnit. I trust you guys noticed as well, and I'm not going crazy. Right?"
Reluctant nods answered his question. Historia and Eren had remained rooted to the spot for several moments longer than expected, before abruptly whispering something to each other. Then, when the service was over, they disappeared both from the after-party and their friends, and still hadn't emerged. And absolutely no one knew why.
Although, the look on Armin's face said otherwise.
It didn't take long for the other surviving Scouts to turn to their blonde comrade, who was lost in thought by the looks of it, only starting suddenly when Mikasa nudged his stomach. "Sorry! Sorry, just… thinking."
Hange raised an eyebrow. "Do you want to tell us what you were thinking about?" she asked, and Armin seemed to hesitate for a moment before sighing in resignation. "When they- when Eren moved to kiss Historia's hand I felt… I think I felt the Coordinate."
In the blink of an eye, Hange was directly in front of him, practically foaming at the mouth. "Really?! What did it feel like? How did you-"
"Hange, lay off the brat," Levi sighed, then shook his head. "We'll corner the Queen and Eren later. For now, though…" Striding past them and opening the door, he gestured to it. "There's an honors after-party for us, and I could really go for some tea." With that, Humanity's Strongest left the younger Scouts, quickly followed by Hange, leaving the remaining members of the 104th Trainee Corps behind.
Mikasa, who had remained silent during the conversation, turned to Armin. "The Coordinate? Isn't that Eren's Titan?" Armin nodded, and she frowned. "But, how did he use it? I've only ever seen him harness it once…"
The blonde gave a helpless shrug, and Mikasa grimaced, before turning to the others. "Any ideas, anyone?"
Jean pursed his lips, deep in thought, while Connie shrugged helplessly, and Sasha shook her head. "I got nothing, sorry."
Armin sighed, but nodded. "I suppose we can ask them the next time we see them, if their so adamant on staying hidden for the time being."
Already turning to join the others in the festivals, Connie shrugged nonchalantly. "They have to come out from wherever they are at some point, right?"
They would see neither Historia or Eren until the next expedition outside the Walls.
It took another two months for the Titans within the Wall to be cleared and rendered peaceful, through the power of the Founding Titan. That in of itself had not been planned by anyone, in fact, save the Queen and the Coordinate themselves. Before the practice trial of the Executioner from Hell had even begun, they both stepped forward, having been invited to watch, and Historia took Eren by the hand.
With a miniscule spark of golden lightning, the Titans that had been visibly in-sight of Wall Rose froze for a moment, before turning sharply and marching away from the Executioner, and the Walls. With that done, the two simply left.
With the Titans seemingly ordered not to harm humans and to wait imobile in the ruins of Shiganshina, surveys were sent out into Wall Maria territory, confirming the lack of Titans, and for the Repopulation of Wall Maria was allowed to begin. Slowly, but surely, old residents of the Wall Maria territory, as well as many looking for newer and better prospects ventured out into the ruined land to reclaim it, all the while spreading whispers of the Queen who commanded such power over their hated foes. During that time, neither the holder of the Founding Titan nor the Queen were seen by the surviving Survey Corps members, seemingly having retreated into the Capital for one reason or either, and despite their numerous attempts to see them, they were always rebuked by officials or delayed by courtesies.
Meanwhile, both Hange, now Commander of the Survey Corps, which was now facing an (unheard of) influx in recruits, and Levi, still Captain of the Special Operations Squad, soon caught wind from the capital that Historia's figurative power as Queen of the Walls was quickly solidifying into something far more corporeal than that which fitted a figurehead.
It was... concerning news, admittedly. They had heard no direct word from either their Queen or the Founding Titan in several months, just like their fellow survivors, and the only ones could give them the answers they sought were the ones who left the questions in the first place.
Even so, they went about their business (reluctantly, in Mikasa and Armin's case), testing out the new ODM Gear seized from the Anti-Personnel Squad and experimenting with Armin's newfound Titan abilities preparing for what would hopefully the final Expedition Beyond the Wall. As it was, they had planned for only the members of the old Survey Corps to make the journey, and everyone involved had been fine with that.
Until the day of the Expedition actually came, and they found out that Eren was going with them.
As well as the Queen.
Accompanied by several guards, engineers, and men from the Builder's Guild brave enough to join them (or ordered directly by the Queen), to the shock of the remaining Survey Corps members.
It made for a very awkward journey
In the four days it took for them to ride for the coast, not once did any of the Scouts get the chance to speak to the two, seeing as they were constantly surrounded by the engineers and guards they had brought along, seemingly discussing the construction of a port site on their destination, and any time that they weren't occupied with others, they simply went scouting ahead, Eren in his Titan and Historia on his shoulders.
It was only a day after they had finally arrived to the coast of Paradis when they finally managed to corner the two, the guards having been dismissed and the surveyors and engineers from the Guild scoping out the area and drawing up plans for the port.
In truth, they hadn't had to do much at all.
They had been waiting for them, after all.
It was Historia who turned to them from her place besides Eren, who continued to look out towards the sea. "I assume you guys have questions."
"Damn right we do," Levi ground out, frustrated, and Historia cocked her head to the side slightly. "You're angry, although that's to be expected. Of course, if I had spent the last two months trying to seek out people who deliberately avoided me, I'd probably be pissed too. Now then, you have us. What do want to talk about?"
It was Armin who stepped forward first, weeks-old questions loose on his tongue. "While we were still in the capital, we heard that you've started to… take on more administrative roles?"
"I am. I'm the Queen of the Walls. I rule Paradis now, and I will not let the ways of the Kings before me rule me."
The blonde frowned slightly at her words. "But… the whole point of the coup was to overthrow the monarchy and place it in the hands of more capable people, right?"
"Are you calling Historia an incompetent ruler, Armin?"
Eren's unexpected entry into the conversation startled his longtime friend, who flinched at his words. "N-no, that's not what I meant, Eren, you know that."
"What he meant," Mikasa stepped forward now, a concerned look in her oriental features, "was that you guys have been ghosting us since the ceremony you threw for us." She shot a glance at the Queen. "Armin said he felt the power of the Founding Titan when you gave Eren his medal. Why was that?"
Only then did Eren turn away from the ocean horizon, to share a quick look with Historia, something indecipherable to the others passing between them. Historia pursed her lips, but spoke nonetheless.
"Nothing but old memories."
Obviously discontent with that answer, Mikasa reluctantly backed down, shifting her gaze to Hange, who had watched their pseudo-interrogation with interest and hidden concern. Sighing, the older woman tossed the seashell she had been observing to Armin (who fumbled but caught the unexpected projectile) before addressing the Queen and Coordinate.
"We're worried, Historia. Worried that you might be in over your heads, that you're handling too much. If you would just talk to us-"
"I'm going to declare war on Marley."
Mikasa and Levi stared. Jean, Connie, and Sasha stopped their roughhousing and gaped. Hange herself took a step back in shock, and Armin's eyes widened in horror. "W-what?! Your going to declare war?!"
Historia shrugged. "Isn't that what I said? And didn't you guys ask us to talk with you? I just did."
"But, why war?! We don't even know the situation outside the island! War might not be necessary at all! If we just talked-"
The Queen's voice stopped him. It was cold, authoritarian, and brooked no arguments.
Seemingly having had enough of the conversation, the Historia turned to face the ocean, and the setting sun. She was silent for a moment, before she spoke again. "Across these waters, there's a whole world new and strange. A world full of things we can't possibly imagine.
A world that wants us dead."
She whirled back to face them, blue eyes filled with fury. "I am the Queen of the Walls. Queen of Paradis. Queen of Eldia. And right now, across that ocean, the people of Eldia are suffering. They will suffer under the weight of the world, and they will continue to suffer until that weight crushes them.
The only way to stop that suffering, is if all those wonders across the ocean die.
There will be no peace. Not until their cities crumble, until their walls fall, until their people know death and destruction.
For five years we've been at war, and the war has been fought here, at the expense of the lives of my people.
We got our grim reminder.
It's time to give the rest of humanity theirs."
Two weeks after returning from the coast, Historia Reiss, Queen of the Wall, Ruler of Paradis, and Empress of Eldia, in the presence of her court and military advisors, formally declared war on the nation of Marley.
And so, for the first time in a hundred years, the drums of war began to beat.
A/N: Aaaaaaaaand TIME SKIP
Cause if I don't, I'm going to burn out before reaching the good parts.