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Quote1 Nile... humanity has just been forced onto an even more dangerous path than before... Quote2
— Erwin Smith prepares for the consequences of his victory

Reply (終幕 Shūmaku?) is the 3rd chapter of the 15th volume and the 61st chapter overall of the Attack on Titan manga, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama.

Overview

Erwin's public execution is being prepared. Meanwhile, he has a conversation with the King and the Assembly. Erwin tries to explain that the Survey Corps defends mankind and that the fall of Wall Rose would cause a civil war but the Assembly ignores him. Suddenly, a Garrison soldier reports that Wall Rose has been breached. The Assembly decides that the refugees must not enter Wall Sheena. This confuses the soldiers, making Nile Dok disobey them. It is then revealed that there is no breach and it was a plan made by Dot Pixis to show the nobles' true nature. The confusion ends when Darius Zackly arrests the nobles and exonerates the Survey Corps. In another place, Levi's Squad are informed by Hange accompanied by Hitch and Marlowe that they are being spared for the crimes they were framed for. This allows them to carry on with their more important duties, rescuing Historia and the restrained Eren.

Summary

In the streets of Mitras, people are wondering what is happening, and what all the carriages and gallows are doing. Some speculate the Survey Corps is about to be disbanded and Erwin Smith executed.

While Erwin is in the royal throne room, hands tied behind his back and on his knees, he appeals to the Assembly of the Royal Government that humanity needs the Survey Corps to continue existing, because they are its most important weapon: a spear that eliminates threats before they can harm the people. He uses the example of a sudden breach of Wall Rose: if that were to happen, the people there would have no choice but to flee within Wall Sheena, where because of meager food and supplies, civil war would break out. Being defensive all the time, Erwin argues, is only an invitation for trouble. He then confronts the Assembly about whether they are hiding another, secret plan, to which there is no response.

The Assembly members instead bring up Levi's killing of several Military Police First Interior Squad soldiers, stating that unlike his comrades, Erwin is constantly trying to hide his treasonous acts. One of the four officials asks Commander Dot Pixis, who is also present, whether he holds any fantasies of rebellion too because of the closely-knit connection between the Garrison and Survey Corps. Exchanging glances with Erwin, Pixis dismisses any such accusations, saying that humans fighting other humans would make it too easy for the Titans to destroy what is left. The official, amused, takes back his accusation, saying that the monarchy is trying to prevent the same thing.

Previously, Erwin and Pixis were discussing revolution plans. At the time, Pixis states he does believe that turning against the crown would uncover secrets and save soldiers' lives, but even if the revolution succeeds, they probably would not be able to inherit all the knowledge and inner workings that the crown currently holds: Titans within the Walls, the ability to alter memories, and any other forces at work. He is doubtful, saying it is safer for him to remain on the monarchy's side.

Anka reports the breach in Wall Rose

Anka reports the false breach in Wall Rose

In front of the Assembly, Erwin has run out of things to say and is being carried to the gallows as Pixis and Commander Nile Dok look on. Suddenly, a Garrison soldier barges into the throne room, reporting that the Armored and Colossus Titans have broken through the gates of Wall Rose, as well as at Stohess District, much to Nile's surprise. Erwin looks him in the eye, and Nile recalls a visit to Erwin in prison. At the prison, Erwin asks Nile where his home is, and how his family is doing. Nile tells him that they're all fine, and are currently living in the eastern district of Wall Rose. Erwin tells him that he has left something up to Commander Pixis, and that it will be up to Nile to decide for himself in the future.

Nile visits a tortured Erwin

Nile sees Erwin held prisoner

In the throne room, Pixis orders his troops to secure an evacuation route and gather in the east district. One of the assemblymen angrily interrupts him and orders them to instead close all of the gates in Wall Sheena and prevent refugees from entering. Nile is shocked upon hearing this, stating that such a decision would lead to the death of half of humanity's entire remaining population. The assemblyman does not pay any heed to what Nile says, saying that Erwin was right about a civil war breaking out if the refugees come into the interior. Nile replies that it was only a theory, but the assemblyman refuses to budge and repeats his order to seal the gates.

Pixis and his soldier exchange a glance, and she proceeds to nod and runs out of the throne room. The Assembly discuss the current matter together. One of them says that there is a silver lining to this incident, ambiguously stating that they only need to wait a few days until they "obtain it". The soldiers are at unrest, not wanting to go against orders by their higher-ups. Nile, however, vows not to abandon the citizens of Wall Rose and goes against the command of the Assembly. Darius Zackly suddenly enters the throne room, along with a large group of armed soldiers. Pixis asks him if he was shocked by the response of the Assembly, which he denies. Darius explains to the nervous crowd that the entire report of the breach was merely a farce, and that there had been no Titan attack at all. Pixis tells the mortified nobles that he was the one who organized the plan, explaining that this was just a test to see how the nobility would react when human lives are placed in great danger. If they had decided to help the refugees, everybody would turn themselves in for treason. But if they decided to selfishly fend for themselves, then the military would overthrow them as rulers of the Walls. An assemblyman claims that their actions will cause mass chaos, but Darius objects, informing the Assembly that the Berg Newspaper has revealed to the world the true corruption of the Interior forces. In defeat, the assemblyman wakes up Fritz, the false King, who had been dozing off the whole time. As the Assembly is put under arrest, Erwin tells Nile that humanity is now in an even more dangerous position.

Eren is chained

Eren is chained

Back in the forest, Hange, accompanied by Marlowe and Hitch, delivers the news of the coup's success and the Survey Corps' freedom to Levi and his squad, leaving them all shocked and filled with happiness.. Levi asks Hange about how she managed to relieve them of their crimes, and Hange replies that it was not entirely her that saved the Survey Corps but instead, the citizens of the city themselves, such as the Reeves Company and the Berg Newspaper who aided the Survey Corps' freedom. Levi understands now, but he tells her as well as the group that they still have a threat to deal with: Kenny Ackerman. Levi states that since Kenny is alive and still has Eren and Historia as hostages, the coup is not over. Levi plans to rescue them and the group agrees with him as well, but they do not know where they are being held. Hange intervenes, stating that she may have an idea where they are, holding up a letter. She states that their location is in the letter, but they would have to take a risk since it might not be the real location and a trap instead. They decide to take their chances and begin the search for Eren and Historia.

In some other location, Kenny inspects his knife while Rod Reiss and Historia are talking to each other in front of Eren, half-naked and suspended in chains.

Characters in Order of Appearance

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