|Humanity's fate is riding on us. So...we can only march slowly forward. I've started to finally realize it...that is what we're here for!|
|— Reiner Braun understands his duty as a Warrior|
Two years later, Annie emphasized their need to retrieve the Founding Titan urgently, but Reiner was convinced that a slow and steady approach would be best for humanity's sake. Planning to enter the Military Police Brigade to enter the interior, the Warriors joined the 104th Training Corps.
After fleeing from the Titan that ate Marcel, Reiner stopped at a tree to catch his breath. Seeing that Bertolt and Annie were not with him, he believed they may have been eaten with Marcel, and began to panic. His thoughts were interrupted by a kick from Annie, who observed that this had been the first time Reiner had outperformed her in a foot race. Annie told Reiner and Bertolt that, had they not fled, the three of them could have captured the Titan and kept the Jaw Titan's power in their possession.
Annie ordered the two of them to follow her back, with the intention of retrieving the new holder of the Jaw Titan, and then returning to the Marleyan ships that dropped them off to report their mission a failure. Reiner, remembering his mother's words of encouragement, protested that they could not return. Annie corrected him, saying that he was the only one who could not go back, as he would be forced to give his Titan to another Warrior for his failure. Reiner pointed out that all three of them might be punished for their failure, before arguing that it would be pointless to pursue the Jaw Titan's new owner, as none of their Titans would be fast enough to catch them in their new Jaw Titan form. He also argued that the only way to ensure that none of them were punished would be to return from the mission with some sort of success. Annie lost her temper, and began to beat Reiner, admitting as she did so, that she does not care about Eldia or Marley, and simply wants to go home. When she finished, Reiner attacked her himself, managing to tackle her to the ground and declaring that he would become Marcel and assuring them that they will all go home together.
Annie used her Female Titan's scream to attract nearby Titans and have them follow her to the Walls as she carried Reiner and Bertolt. However, the original plan called for her to regularly switch carrying duties with Marcel, and his absence lead to her running out of stamina before they can reach Wall Maria. Once they were finally in sight of Wall Maria, Reiner switched places with Annie, using his Titan to carry his comrades the rest of the way to the Walls. Reiner dropped Bertolt off at Wall Maria's gate and moved away to give Bertolt space to transform. Although Bertolt feared, upon seeing the Wall, that he would not have the strength to destroy it, he successfully used his Colossus Titan to kick a hole in the front gate. As Reiner watched, he became swarmed by Titans and began fighting them off before noticing a stray Titan approaching Bertolt. Strangely, the Titan ignored Bertolt, and Reiner was able to reach him and carry him and Annie to the top of Wall Maria, where he left them before going to destroy the Wall's inner gate. As he made his way through Shiganshina District, Reiner reflected on his motivations for becoming a Warrior, and on Marcel's decision to sacrifice himself to save him. As he prepared to destroy Wall Maria's inner gate, he decided that he did not want the mission to end, as he still did not understand anything.
Annie awoke in a refugee camp inside Wall Rose with Reiner and Bertolt. Having completed part of their mission, they resolved to become true Warriors.
While with the refugees, the three met a man from a small village in the southeast of Wall Maria that was destroyed by the Titans. He explained to them that his village did not get word of Wall Maria being breached due to how isolated they were. He told them about how he had not realized what was going on until he heard the Titans' footsteps and opened a window to find one staring at him. He claimed that after that, he did not remember anything, other than the fact that he left three children behind when they escaped. The man was later found hanging from a tree, having apparently committed suicide.
As the three worked in a field, they discussed the revelation that the current Fritz king and his family were merely stand-ins, hypothesizing that they were likely given noble status due to the fact that they are Eldians who were not Subjects of Ymir, and could not be controlled by the Founding Titan. Bertolt suggested trying to find out the true king's whereabouts from Fritz, but Annie pointed out that there was no way for them to get into the capital, as servants were no longer being hired, and she would not be able to marry herself into one of the families due to her "filthy blood."
Reiner decided that the only way to get close to the royal family was for them to become soldiers and join the Military Police Brigade. Annie, unhappy with this, suggested instead to simply destroy the rest of the Walls, but Reiner reminded her that if they did that, the Founding Titan could be forced to use its powers to unleash the Colossus Titans within the Walls on the rest of the world.
The three eventually joined the military, being placed in the 104th Training Corps. On his first day, when asked by his instructor why he had joined the military, Reiner declared that he was going to save humanity.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- Many of the Titans appearing in this chapter summoned by the Female Titan's scream bear strong resemblance to the cast of characters from the Game of Thrones TV series.