I don't own Shingeki no Kyojin.
Unnamed Place, Paradis Island
They saw the beginnings of a new settlement just half an hour after leaving his Titan behind. The wooden houses surrounded by a makeshift wooden wall stood out amongst the flat grassland, he noticed some tents made beside the wall some tents could be seen, possibly where the warriors were.
Uphill he saw the forest where the five warriors could have been killed, and further down, near the coast, he saw the remains of the homes destroyed by the hurricane.
For anyone else, the sight would've been upsetting, or maddening. But for Eren, it was a calming sight. He felt sorry for the people and families, he wasn't heartless enough to not see how bad they were faring. Not anymore.
During his last years in his timeline, natural disasters and the concept of nature itself was a calming and reassuring thought to him. A force that affected everyone and no one was safe from it. Something that couldn't be matched nor controlled by human might and ingenuity. Something that couldn't be caged or swayed.
After some minutes they were nearing the wooden gates of the place, some holes could be seen on it and some of the trunks that made it could be seen laying on the ground, all of it due to the strong winds of the storm. At the gate instead of the usual two guards, there were four, all of them in leather armor and spears in their hands.
As they got closer the four warriors came to receive them.
By walking towards them with their spears pointing forward.
'I should start appearing more in public, this is getting annoying' Eren thought annoyed at being received like this for the second time on the Island. Maybe it was time he transformed on a more public area.
Although his transformation wasn't of a 15 meter, but of a 220 meter, a full head taller than Ymir's 200 meters, transforming in the growing cities was a bad idea no matter how he looked at it. He had had enough time not crashing into buildings in the past, a few steps from his founder transformation would level anything.
There was also the case of the kidnapping attempt that Eldia and Marley carried out, if he revealed Ymir's and his identity then the safety they had from secrecy would be gone.
'What secrecy? The fact that they already tried to kidnap Ymir means that they will eventually find her out, and you already revealed yourself to their leaders' that's right he already revealed himself, if his new nation's biggest "threats" already knew his face, then what's the point of hiding from the people on the island.
The majority of the citizens were saved by him and Ymir and have seen him, yet they never saw Ymir come out of her Titan or he transform into one.
He shook his head, sending those thoughts to the back of his mind. He needed to keep his head on the present.
The group cautiously walked toward them, their spears never wavering nor lowering, Eren put a hand on Ymir's shoulder, signaling her to stop walking.
Ymir narrowed her eyes at them, annoyed they would raise their weapons against her. 'Didn't they know who they were?' she thought completely unaware of the fact that she and Eren had rarely made public appearances.
"Halt! What is your business here?" the one at the front and the tallest of the four called out to them. He stood at 5'9 " compared to the other three warriors but came short when faced with Eren and Ymir. He was wide shoulders and very short brown hair, sporting a beard of the same color but no mustache.
"Lower your weapons" Eren ordered calmly "we've come to help rebuild by bringing resources to the people here"
The man narrowed his eyes "You say that but I don't see any carriage behind you with said resources!" the rest of the warriors took stances ready to attack "I will ask once more, why did you come here?!" the man's voice was louder and unmovable. However, Eren could spot the hidden fear in his words.
Sweat dribbled down their temples. Their teeth gritted so hard they could break any moment. Their arms were twitchy, small movements almost unnoticeable.
They were afraid.
The deaths of their comrades were affecting them 'Or is it something else?' Eren thought looking at each of them closely. The deaths of his comrades never affected him or his friends to such an extent, in fact, most of the time it gave them the strength to continue fighting.
What would scare them so much that they would respond in such a way from two people?
In any case, he had to reassure them he wasn't an enemy, or they wouldn't get anywhere this way.
"Ymir, if you would" Eren called out.
Ymir nodded and raised her hand, her palm facing upwards.
In an instant, a marble white pillar sprouted out of the ground between them and the warriors.
Said warriors stumbled backward as the pillar suddenly sprouted from the ground and sent dirt and dust in their direction.
"I-I-I…" the warrior that had been talking to them stuttered as he looked wide-eyed at the common structure in front of him. He had heard stories of how the capital was built.
The only ones of such feats were-
"As I said, I bring resources to help the people affected by the storm to rebuild and continue building the new port city" green eyes glowed with power as he locked gazes directly with the fallen warrior.
Rapidly the warrior stumbled to stand upright "You-Your Majesty!" he shouted, as he brought his fist to his heart in the salute of the Island.
The rest of the fallen warriors looked at their captain in bewilderment until his words finally dawned on them and they stumbled to salute the Founder of their haven "S-Sir!" they shouted as one.
Eren suppressed the feeling to smirk and simply waved a hand at them "At ease"
They released their salute but soon after they bowed their heads to waist level "We're very sorry for raising our weapons against you" they all said.
"Please don't do that" Ymir said, feeling awkward about having people bow to her "it was a misunderstanding"
"My lady is merciful" the bearded captain reluctantly raised his head, as he was being instantly forgiven in his eyes "please allow us to escort you, to make it up to you"
Suddenly having four sets of unfamiliar eyes on her, Ymir felt somewhat nervous and tried hard not to show it "S-Sure, please do" she said trying to show a strong front.
"Nicely done Ymir" she turned to see Eren smiling at her "You'll get the hang of being a lady just yet," he said jokingly.
She felt heat rise on her face and turned around before it became visible "T-Thanks" she managed to say.
Soon after they were once again walking.
They were flanked by two guards on each side, all of them more relaxed than before, but also more serious in their job to protect them.
As they walked through the hastily built walls they were greeted by the sight of women and men going around working and helping to develop their village. Logs were being moved in a carriage by a horse, water was being lifted from a well, and food was being cooked.
Once they got closer, the townspeople stopped to stare at them. Eren noticed that some looked curious, which was understandable, two strangers being escorted by the gate warriors would raise some eyebrows, however, the majority looked at him and Ymir with distrust.
They were unfamiliar faces, and in uncertain times the last thing you wanted was for someone unknown to mess things up.
They continued walking until they arrived at the well in the center. The woman using it warily backed up from it but didn't join the group that assembled around them.
Before any of the guards could say anything, the woman spoke
"What is the meaning of this? Who are you?"
Eren looked at her and took in her appearance.
She was small, like almost everyone in this time, maybe around Historia's height, an inch taller possibly. She had brown hair that reached down to her shoulders, her eyes were a brighter green than his own, and had a permanent scowl that tried to rival Shadi's.
She carried herself with a confidence that reminded him a lot of Historia during her first years as Queen, before her pregnancy. Unlike Historia however, her skin was a dark tan and her hands were leathery, she looked as if she had been working since the moment she learned to walk.
"Miss Starfall, they come to help" the captain explained, putting himself between the Founders and the named Starfall.
"Help?" she stared at the soldier as if he had grown a second head "We've been hit by a storm that destroyed all of our homes, there is some deranged killer on the loose eating people and we're barely able to feed our people and your men"
Many in the crowd nodded in agreement with their apparent leader.
"If they wanted to help they would have stayed from whichever of the two cities they came from" a chorus of 'aye' was heard from around them "What we need are tools to dig bases for new homes and to mine stone of which to make the house, so unless you-"
Eren stepped closer to her until he was towering over her. She stumbled on her words as Eren's sudden closeness made her trip slightly back, but quickly straightened and kept her composure as she looked up at the tall ruler.
Katharin Starfall was a woman that since she can remember knew hardship.
When she was born her mother's health declined dramatically making her unable to work, due to that she always had to work twice as hard.
The village she lived in made their lives by planting the fields. Since she was 5, she worked in said fields, helping in whatever she could, carrying tools, bags of seeds, plowing the land, anything that to earn her and her mother's place in the village.
It didn't matter if the day was stormy or sunny if you didn't work you were cast out of the village.
She never knew her father. No one talked about him in the village, and her mother always became angry whenever she brought it up.
It was until she was 9 that she realized how cruel the world was.
One day men riding horses entered the village, wielding spears, they threatened to attack the village and kill everyone if they weren't given most of the food we had grown. The elder seeing no other solution caved in to their demands. However, as soon as the last sack of grain and food was put into a carriage, the order to attack was given.
Fire filled her vision wherever she turned.
She ran as fast as she could to her home, hope-filled her when she saw it wasn't on fire and when she opened the door she froze.
Four men were around her mother.
Her breath caught on her throat, she tried to move, to call out to her, to ask her what was going on.
Then suddenly one of the men jumped back holding his crotch as it bled.
Her mother spat something at the man, and she was hit in the head by another.
Another hit smacked her head and revealed her to Katharin.
She was bleeding from her temple, a knee to the gut had her spitting blood, but she had a feeling it wasn't completely hers.
She shakily raised her head and they locked eyes, for a moment her mother's eyes widened in fear, before narrowing in resolute defiance. Despite her weakened state, she kicked another of the men in their groin and stood up defiantly to her aggressors, standing between them and her.
Were her last words as she was run through by two blades.
Seeing her mother's eyes lose focus was the last thing she remembered, next thing she knew she was running through a forest, her vision blurry due to tears.
That was the last memory of her memory, and in her eyes the last teaching she gave her.
In her last moments, she stood defiant with her head held high.
She lived with that lesson for the last 11 years, as she moved from place to place, she traveled between caravans. She never once backed down.
She stumbled backward for the first time in 11 years. She quickly regained her composure, but that wouldn't change what happened.
For the first time in 11 years, she felt doubt enter her mind. The man in front of her, almost a head taller than her, with eyes a darker green than her own stared down at her.
She had met many people in her travels, of all sizes and personalities, happy, optimistic, angry, and vengeful. Yet none had an aura like his.
An aura that spoke volumes, that made something inside her scream for danger. That brought out fear.
She quickly stomped and purged the minuscule fear that entered her being, she opened her mouth to reprimand this…this…trespasser.
The words never left her mouth as she saw yellow lightning dance around the man, her eyes widened as his green eyes began to glow. A white pole of some weird stone rose from the ground behind him and the guards, everyone around her but the man and the woman beside him, jumped in fright at the sudden slab that came from the ground.
Her composure still down, she saw him bring his hand forward as white light seemed to condense on it. She was forced to cover her eyes with her arm as the light became too bright for a second.
When she removed her arm from her eyes an ax head and pickaxe head greeted her, both were made of some crystal-like stone that seemed to shine beautifully with the sun, she reached out her hand to touch them.
She quickly retracted her arm as if bitten, her mesmerized state broken once she heard the voice of the man who created those tools out of nothing.
"I've given you a stone harder than normal and two nigh-indestructible toolheads that will facilitate your work" he gestured to the said objects that still held all of the attention of the people "So are we still a nuisance?"
She felt the urge to step back as those glowing eyes looked at her but quickly buried that urge. Instead, she narrowed her eyes and didn't look away from his gaze. Reluctantly she had to admit he had given them exactly what she said.
"No" she said through gritted teeth.
From the crowd, one voice was heard and brought the standoff between the two to a sudden stop.
Katharin looked to the crowd trying to find the voice, and then the words registered in her mind. 'Your Majesty?' Her body became still as she kept repeating the question in her head.
Eren took some small satisfaction in seeing 'Miss Starfall's' face of realization of who he was. 'I'm getting kind of used to this 'King' sort of thing'
"My name is Eren Jaeger, co-founder of this Island" everyone, except for Katharin who was still in shock, turned to him mesmerized by what they'd seen "I've come to relieve this town from all its troubles and help it stand once more on its feet, take these as my first gift to you in this endeavor"
Everyone stood in silence.
Suddenly a man of average stature, well-built and with greying hair and beard, stepped forward and kneeled in front of Eren.
One by one people of the town began to kneel in front of him until everyone, except Katharin, was kneeling in front of him.
While it no longer bothered him completely, it still irked him somewhat, Historia was the one born to rule after all, but he faced without showing his discomfort on his face, he wouldn't give her the satisfaction of knowing of his discomfort.
This woman in front of him, Miss Starfall from what he heard, had a strong character no-nonsense, he could respect that, and it kind of reminded him of Captain Levi, however, she was very distrustful. Most people on the island are of course since the majority were previously slaves, but the distrust she showed to newcomers was higher than what he's seen from the port and capital.
'The loose killer could be the reason or something from her past after all everyone had a past.
He turned around to address the people surrounding them "As I said these heads are nigh-indestructible, you won't have to worry about repairing or replacing them anymore" he raised his hand and more light condensed on it. Once the light faded two hammerheads and chisels fell to the ground "use this to carve more tools from the pillar behind me, all you'll need now is a handle for each of these, understood?"
Everyone stood straighter being addressed and nodded and finally dispersed back to what they were doing.
Eren turned back to look at Katharin "Do you have a place to speak?"
The leader of the villagers nodded and started walking in the direction of the coast.
Eren chuckled before following her "C'mon Ymir"
They soon reached what could possibly be the only stone structure standing, surrounded by rubble left from the buildings that previously surrounded it.
"This is the only building that survived the storm a couple of days ago" commented Katharin while entering said building.
"Did you build it?" asked Eren as he inspected the inside.
There was a large table in the middle with a dozen chairs around it, probably for meetings. Behind it was stairs that he deduced could lead to a bedroom on the second floor, but what surprised him were the stairs that went down. A basement.
"No, the previous owner build it" she responded while sitting on the other side of the table "he was a builder from the capital that arrived months ago, when he arrived many other houses and buildings were already built"
This wasn't the only settlement that was trying to grow in Paradis, he had talked about it with the other chiefs about sending experienced people to help.
"The first thing he did was criticize the wooden houses built, he said that they didn't have any support to hold them together, some ignored him, but most took his words to heart when he started to build this one" she gestured to the stone walls around him.
"What happened to him?" Eren had an idea of what had happened but hoped to be proven wrong.
"He was one of the bodies found after the storm"
Either it was an unfortunate event, or he was targeted. Someone with the experience to build a permanent settlement just didn't die by being careless.
"He managed to teach many of the surviving builders, but haven't gotten to build another building made of stone due to how dangerous is getting it right now" she clenched her fist in anger.
"Where are the warriors sent to protect the village?" besides the four warriors that stood guard at the makeshift gate, he hadn't seen any other of the fifty warriors sent by Ragnar.
"The majority of the warriors are patrolling around, in hopes of finding a clue on the killer, six warriors were left to patrol the wall and the other four you've already met"
Good, so they had already taken measures to protect the people.
"What about food? I assume the storm destroyed what few crops you had, and have resorted to either hunting and/or fishing"
She nodded affirming his guess "Since the forest is too dangerous to venture right now, most of our food is comprised of fish and the few stock that survived."
"How many functioning boats do you have? Did any go missing after the storm?"
The villager leader frowned at the last question but still answered.
"We used to have 20 boats, but after the storm, we were left with 8 only, all were accounted for after the storm, even the destroyed ones were found among the rubble"
He nodded and stood up, Ymir following his example "Your people will resume rebuilding; I can provide some materials mainly crystals and stone. I will be looking for our eluding killer or killers with the warriors" he started to walk towards the door.
As he grabbed the handle Katharin suddenly stood making him freeze "Let me join you!"
He looked back at her to analyze her.
She held his gaze "They attacked my people and that's is something I can't let them get away with"
Katharin looked pleadingly at the King of Paradis 'My King, technically' she reminded herself.
He wasn't what he imagined he would be. She had never seen a king or anyone from nobility, but she had heard many rumors and gossip from her years traveling.
In Marley, they talked as if the king had been chosen by the gods and therefore had the divine right to rule. In Eldia they were talked as if they were warriors of great renown who would lead them to victory and a future full of riches.
But these were the only rumors that spoke highly of their rulers. She heard rumors from kingdoms far to the south where kings were greedy and didn't care for their subjects, that didn't "dirtied" their hands with problems from outside their fortresses.
When she met the King that had founded the place, she was starting to call home, she was reminded of the last rumors.
Already he had proven that he was willing to get over to their destroyed settlement. He had created tools to help them get materials easier.
She was irked by his presence, the aura of authority he displayed made her feel her position being threatened. Once his status was revealed, she still held some animosity towards him although mostly due to their first interaction.
She wanted to get a better read on what type of person he was.
Besides their first meeting, he never again questioned her authority over the settlement, maybe they butted heads at the beginning because she was so dismissive of him and his companion.
She turned to look at the girl standing beside him. The girl, Ymir if she remembered correctly, didn't talk at all, however, she noticed that she paid close attention to their interactions, especially whenever Eren was talking.
'An apprentice of some kind' the girl followed him around everywhere, so she must be important, even the guards seemed to hold the girl in high regard.
She went back to looking at him, waiting for his answer. She wanted to kill the bastards who dared to attack her people, and now she had the opportunity.
The silence began to stretch, and when she thought he'll dismiss her she sees him nod.
"Alright," he says as he opens the door "I'll be going to meet with the captain of the warriors to get a report on the situation, meanwhile continue overseeing the rebuilding of the settlement, if something comes up, I'll send someone to fetch you"
With that, he stepped out and closed the door.
"Why did you say that?"
Eren looked down to see Ymir looking at him questioningly "If more people come with us then we won't be able to use our powers"
He could somewhat see what she meant, he had been afraid of hurting his friends with his powers when he learned he started attacking Mikasa during his second transformation.
"Our enemy isn't one that'll attack us head on" he starts explaining to her "they use the shadows and anonymity to their advantage, we can't use our powers if we can't see our enemy even less if we don't know them"
Ymir made a confused expression at his response "Know them? Why would we want to know them? They're our enemy"
Eren chuckled at her response, remembering a time when he asked himself the same question.
"What do you remember seeing when we arrived?"
"You mean when I was inside my Titan?"
Ymir kept giving a confused look at Eren, but answered nonetheless "Trees, plains, clouds, the ocean although barely"
"Did you see a mountain or any hills?"
"None, the last I remember seeing was leagues before arriving"
"So where are they then? There are no mountains for them to hide in caves, no boats were reported missing therefore they didn't escape by sea, and any fire to keep them warm at night could be easily seen so…"
Ymir started to process what Eren was insinuating, she would like if he would just tell her, but she knew that if he did then she'd never learn to be independent of him.
She thought of the most important things he said.
No caves to hide in.
No boats were missing.
Any fire outside the settlement could be easily spotted.
Any fire outside…
She gasped as realization dawned on her.
"They're hiding inside the settlement"
I honestly wanted to finish this chapter during June or July, since those are the months, I have more free time. But I couldn't get myself to it, kept getting distracted, by work, summer courses, and online courses. I ended up tired at the end of every day.
I'll try to write at least once every week from now on…hopefully…don't get your hopes up.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it and hopefully there aren't that many errors.
-The Knight in Dark Flames.