Let Me Tell You a Story
Sometime during the full rumbling in Chapter 134
The discomfort went from bad to worse to excruciating. With her legs raised up and her hands gripping the stirrups, Historia pushes with all her might. Labour pains wracked her small body as tears ran down her face, her skin covered in a sweaty sheen. She scrunched her eyes in agony, suffering from the inside out, not so much from the pain of childbirth but because of the loneliness. She was surrounded by doctors and midwives and security guards and household staff, but was all alone again, without friends or family.
“It’s alright, I got you,” a gentle, familiar voice was saying. Someone was stroking her hair, dabbing at her face with a soft towel, wiping away her tears.
Could it be? Could it possibly be? If she opened her eyes, would that voice disappear letting her know it was but hallucination on her part? If it was just a dream, she would very much prefer to stay in dreamland and listen to that voice.
But long, familiar fingers were prying hers from the stirrups. “Hold onto me, my queen. Hold my hands. Bite into my arm if you have to.”
Warily, she opened her eyes. It wasn’t a dream. There he was, the man himself: Eren Jaeger.
“Eren! How did you get here? I thought you were in the middle of the rumbling…?”
“Shh, shh,” he said, hugging her, planting a tender kiss on her lips. “It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay. We’ve solved it. We found a solution.”
“Solution? How? When?” she asked, confused and in pain, tears running down her face, overjoyed at her beloved being there during childbirth but worried about this ‘solution’ he spoke of.
“‘I’ll tell you everything later. For now, concentrate on bringing our child into this world.”
Sand. So much sand. He had never seen so much sand in his life. The hills and valleys made of sand stretched on as far as the eye could see. How could there be so much sand in once place? What place, exactly, the young man wondered. But he knew why he was here. He had asked to be here, begged and pleaded, to be exact. He could hear the ticking of the clock in his head, the movement reminding him just how little time he had left on the planet. But no matter. What mattered was that he would get to see and talk to one particular child.
He waited with baited breath. Come on. You promised me. C’mon now.
As if someone heard his prayers, there she was. A child. The child.
“Hello, little girl,” he said. “I am the Storyteller.”
“Hello, Mr Storyteller,” she replied without introducing herself.
He studied her, this child of around six or seven years. She had her mother’s golden blonde hair, and her father’s large green eyes and heart-shaped face. There was no mistaking whose daughter she was. If she’d had her head covered and he didn’t know any better, he’d have called out to her with a name he’d uttered thousands of times in his lifetime.
“Princess,” he addressed her. “Would you like me to tell you a story?”
They sat cross-legged on the sand. A part of him simply wanted to stare at her, for she was a spitting image of her father whom he’d known since he was a young boy. But he knew he didn’t have much time left. So he began.
“Once upon a time, there was a boy named Eren. He had a best friend named Armin, and an adoptive sister named Mikasa. He was a happy child who loved his Mum and Dad, but walls surrounded the city he lived in, and he couldn’t help but wonder, what lay beyond those walls? No one would give him a clear answer.”
From his mother being devoured in front of him leading to the Battle of Liberio and then to the rumbling, the Storyteller told the little girl about Eren’s journey. Listening actively, the child asked question after question before letting the young man continue. Her beautiful eyes though still so young were filled with an intelligence and inquisitiveness that was one in a million.
“Eren falls in love with Historia and they make a baby,” he said.
“So Historia has a royal baby, just like her ancestor Founder Ymir and Eren’s father, Grisha Jaeger?” the child said as a short summary of what she’d heard so far.
“Yes, but there’s a big difference here. Historia chooses to have a baby with Eren because she loves him and wants to have a child with him, while Founder Ymir was forced to procreate and gave birth to three children against her will. Grisha married a royal, Dina, but it was more a marriage of convenience because they were fighting for the same cause and wanted to have a royal child to advance that cause.”
“What else did Eren and Zeke talk about in Marley, aside from Zeke’s euthanasia plan?”
“In Marley, Eren asked Mikasa what he meant to her. He was worried she had feelings for him that he can’t return. Mikasa was terrified of saying the wrong thing, and he encouraged her to answer ‘family.’ She said as prodded. But Eren isn’t convinced she spoke the truth, so when he went AWOL he asked his older brother Zeke for his opinion. Zeke conjectures that Mikasa is in love with Eren and asks how he plans to respond to her feelings. At that moment, Eren flashes back to Historia asking him about making a baby. So he deflects with a generic answer about his short lifespan.”
“Why couldn’t he tell Zeke about his relationship with Historia?”
“Because it was a matter of huge consequence. If Eren’s enemies learned of her child’s paternity, they might capture and use Historia to manipulate him. Eren didn’t want to endanger the queen in any way, so they decided to keep the true nature of her pregnancy a secret.”
“Why did Eren tell his own sister that he hated her?”
“He lied to her in hopes that she’ll question her feelings for him, and hopefully put their relationship in perspective, and in the end, find happiness with someone else. It was not simply to absolve her from the evil of his full rumbling plan. He lied to her hoping he can free her from her unhealthy obsession with him. He hoped that she’d think for herself and go against his plan instead of blindly following him like she used to.”
“Why did Eren tell his best friend he was being manipulated, and was useless?”
“It’s in a similar vein with Mikasa. Eren wanted Armin to fight him, to not give up on his ideals, to think, to really think of a way out of the situation. He lied in hopes that Armin will question everything: his feelings, his values, his convictions. In the end, Armin came to the realisation that his feelings were genuine and that Eren lied to him for a reason. He decided he simply couldn’t let Eren destroy the world. It forced him to think of how to prevent Eren from doing so. He had an inkling that Eren didn’t want to be given carte blanche, either, because he did not take away his friends’ titan powers.”
“What does ‘carte blanche’ mean?”
“Ah, sorry,” he apologised. The child was precocious, but still very young. “It literally means a blank piece of paper. It means unconditional authority, or full discretionary power. In this case, it means letting someone do whatever they want, no matter how evil.”
“But saying those awful words to two people he loved is too cruel,” opined the child.
“Eren wanted both Armin and Mikasa to come find him, and to bring the others with them, so that together they could find a solution. If everyone simply agreed with him, they’ll just sit in a safe place away from the rumbling and wait for it to finish. Eren didn’t want this to happen. In the end, the three old friends did have a talk, and Eren did apologise for his hurtful words.”
“How could Eren go ahead and kill everyone else?”
“He was doing what a father would do to protect his family: Historia and their baby together. Plus his extended family, of course: his sister and friends and the people on the island. For him, there was no other way. He considered it to be a kill-or-be-killed situation and decided to go to the extreme, out of desperation. His life was bound to end soon, because of the titan shifter curse, so he was compelled to act.”
“Sorry for asking so many questions!” the child said.
“No, no, I love the way you’re truly listening,” said the young man, before asking, “What do you think are the central themes of the story?”
Cocking her head to one side, the child replied thoughtfully, “I think it’s all about freedom. And birth. And family. And friendship.”
He blinked, impressed and saddened at the same time. Happy that she understood, and sad that this would be the last time he could talk to such an amazing child.
“You see, Princess, Eren and Historia’s love story changed everything, destroyed every narrative and ignored every precedent. It was a revolution,” the Storyteller went on. “Founder Ymir bore children out of a sense of duty, and the disastrous results were the three sisters and the cycle of titan inheritance. Grisha also makes a baby with a royal out of a sense of duty, and the disastrous result was Zeke, who hated his own race. Eren, on the other hand, makes a baby with a royal out of love. Love, Princess. Do you see the difference?”
“Love,” the child repeated softly, nodding. “Love. I think I see the difference.”
“This baby will be free in the end, because it was born in love. As Eren Kruger said, love is what will end the cursed cycle. It was this beloved baby that gave Eren the strength to fight and push through with his plan.”
“Are you saying the other Attack Titans before Eren all thought there was no way out of the cycle?”
“Yes,” said the Storyteller. “Grisha had a royal child in order to continue the cycle of titan inheritance. He realised his mistake and when he was given a second chance, he married out of love and fathered a child out of love. The result was Eren, who did not follow in his father’s previous footsteps. When Eren grew up he decided to do something completely different. He falls for a royal and fathers a child with her in order to end the cycle of titan inheritance.”
“It’s the same concept, procreation, but done for different reasons,” noted the child.
“Indeed. There was no way Eren would let his child or its mother become titanized. His love for them was such that he resolved to unleash upon the world its worst nightmare. Because Eren decided to radically change things, he surpasses Grisha. This is also one of the themes of the story: the son transcending the father. Grisha and Dina failed in their quest, but Eren and Historia won’t.”
“That’s amazing,” the child remarked. “You’re saying this whole thing took two thousand years to solve!”
“Yes, yes, absolutely,” replied the Storyteller. “It took 2,000 years for Eren Jaeger and Historia Reiss to be born in the same year and eventually fall in love. And it is their creation, the royal baby, that finally ends the curse.” He looks at the child with a mixture of excitement and expansive joy in his voice. “Two thousand years, Princess. Imagine that! The lore, the legend, the mythology, the incredible, breath-taking saga of Eren Jaeger and Historia Reiss.”
“It does sound epic,” the child agreed, nodding enthusiastically, adding, “I love epic love stories!”
“It’s so epic, if we think about the whole thing. To you, two thousand years from now, Founder Ymir said to Eren in a dream, reaching out to him from the past. To you, two thousand years ago, Eren says to Founder Ymir before he goes to free her from eternal bondage. Eren Jaeger breaks the cycle because he does something completely different from what other men have done in those 2,000 years. Other men have used royal women as a means to an end, ready to dispose of them when no longer needed. Eren loves the very last of the royal women and seeks to protect her. That instinctive desire to protect brought on by the unshakable love he had for Historia, is what changes everything. That, Princess, is the greatest of love stories, a story that took two thousand years to bring to fruition.”
They end up lying with their backs on the sand looking up at the swirling galaxies above, pondering the incredible, breathtaking journey of Eren Jaeger. Long moments pass.
“It’s beautiful and awe-inspiring, indeed,” said the child, after a while, “but it’s no longer as beautiful if Eren just went ahead and destroyed the rest of the world.”
“He didn’t have to. In the end, they found a solution.”
“Tell me, please. Tell me everything!” demanded the child, voice trembling in excitement.
“In the middle of the rumbling, all the Nine Titans congregated where Eren’s titan was at. This was the first time in more than a hundred years that all the titans were in one place at the same time. Armin came up with an epiphany. With the Nine Titans all together, he came to the understanding that as long as every single one of them was prescribed to a common Will, they had the power to change the course of history. Up until now, the owners of the Nine fought amongst themselves. If every single one of them agreed to the Will of the Nine, then they could turn back time.”
“But Eren, who carried the Attack Titan, Founder Titan and the Warhammer Titan, wanted to do the rumbling. So it’s three versus six,” the child pointed out.
“Armin convinces Eren to share the Will with them. In the end, all nine decide to give up their titan powers, in exchange for removing titanization from the world, and turning back time.”
“But you mentioned earlier that doing so will kill all the titan shifters, end their lives within a matter of days,” reminded the child.
“Yes, that’s true. But they agreed to do it, and I’ll tell you why. It was because each of the Nine loved someone—truly loved them—more than life itself. All of them agreed a world without titans that was forgiving of Eldians was the best possible world for the people they loved. Annie Leonhart, Female Titan, thought of her beloved father. Reiner Braun, Armoured Titan, thought of his repentant mother. Pieck Finger, Cart Titan, had her precious father. Falco Grice, Jaw Titan, loved his parents and Gabi Braun. Armin Arlert, Colossus Titan, had all his precious friends whom he loved like his own family. Zeke Jaeger, Beast Titan, loved non-Eldians so much and wished for their well-being that he planned to kill his own people in order to save the world.”
“The Nine Titans,” said the child, awed. “They must have been great people.”
“That they were. The Nine deliberated and argued and debated for days and days, turning everything over in their minds, finding and shooting down holes into their suggested solutions, going no-holds barred in their talk of a shared destiny amongst all races. It took a long time in Paths, but was only a blink of an eye in realtime. In the end, the Nine formed a circle around Founder Ymir, and with their hands on her head they freed her from two thousand years of backbreaking labour and heart-rendering solitude. In freeing her they freed the world from titans, a price they paid for with their lives.”
“Only those who have known true love can consider such a thing,” the child observed, with preternatural wisdom.
The Storyteller nodded. “Remember their names, Princess, the ones who made the Ultimate Sacrifice.”
“I will. I shall remember the Nine Titans,” said the little girl, “and I’m going to build a memorial for them. I’ll plant nine fruit trees in a circle, and watch them grow year after year. And when they bear fruit, I shall share them with other children, and tell them all about the Nine Titans, so we can remember and honour them.”
She said this with an earnestness and sincerity that the Storyteller found touching. He smiled, tears welling in his eyes, “That would be lovely.”
What a meaningful memorial, he thought, much better than stone-cold statues. Trees, not merely for their fruit, could provide shelter and refuge year round. Children might learn how to climb on them in spring, frolic under their shade in summer, play with their fallen leaves in autumn. They could build a treehouse on one of the sturdier branches, and spend some quiet moments there reading a book or two. Yes, a treehouse, and a swing, too. Perhaps a birdhouse on Falco’s tree? So many possibilities.
“So won’t you tell me, Mr Storyteller, the favourite fruits of the Nine? Because those are what I shall plant.”
He was at a loss for words, he simply had no idea. What kinds of fruit did the others like? What did he himself like most of all? Apple? Pear? Apricot? Quince? Plum? I only get one tree, I must make a good pick, he thought while grinning to himself. How could such a simple, honest question stump him? Deciding he needed time to think about it as well as ask the others, he delayed answering with, “I don’t know the answer to that. I’ll find out and tell you in a dream.”
She nodded, and they became quiet once more, lost in thought, gazing at the myriad stars up above.
Breaking his reverie, the child, obviously still thinking about the Eren story, asked curiously, “And how did Eren agree to the Will of the Nine?”
“He finally saw the validity of Armin’s plan. Balance could only come to the world if the Eldians no longer had titan powers. The world hated and feared this thing they didn’t have. Removing it once and for all and turning Eldians into ordinary people was the only solution.”
“But without their titan powers the Eldians are helpless against the world’s armies, and unforgiven for their past crimes by the vast majority of peoples!” objected the child, again with that uncanny intelligence.
“That would have been the case, but what Eren did—a thing that no other titan shifter before him had the gumption to do—was actually show the world what a full rumbling was like. He did go ahead and kill nearly everyone outside the island, an unprecedented massacre that would forever be etched in people’s memories. But because of the power of the Will of the Nine, they turned back time.”
“How far back did they go?”
“They could only go as far as the time when Eren and the Scouting Regiment went to Marley as spies. They attended the World Council there, and no one opposed when the anti-Eldian politicians demonized the island and turned it into a scapegoat for all the problems of the world. But when the Nine turned back time, everything was different. The memories of the rumbling were fresh in people’s minds. The outside world finally came to their senses, and thus they, led by the Azumabito clan from Hizuru, rallied on behalf of forgiving the Eldians and admitting them into international society. This time around, the entire world had witnessed exactly what Eren Jaeger could do if the world kept on unfairly targeting the island. They also bore witness to the Ultimate Sacrifice the Eldian Nine Titans had made, selflessly and unhesitatingly. Marley became genuinely repentant, and joined with Hizuru in the campaign for Eldian acceptance as fellow human beings.”
“So they made an exchange then: Eldians gave up their titans and titanization powers, and in return they would receive forgiveness and humane treatment from other nations,” the child summarised.
“Yes, that’s what happened. And all of it was possible because of one boy, a child named Eren Jaeger, who grew up to be the greatest titan shifter the world had ever known. Everyone before him, indeed everyone around him, simply gave up and accepted their fate of being the cursed race. Some railed against it, some simply did nothing about it. But not Eren. He stood up and said, this cycle must stop. And because he and only he had the fortitude to go through the full rumbling, it forced Armin to come up with a viable solution. He could no longer drag his feet, there was no time to stall or be indecisive. Eren’s extreme actions compelled Armin to grow up and face the music.”
“And it was Eren’s love for Historia and their baby that gave him the strength to do the impossible,” the child added, thoughtfully.
“Yes, Princess, that is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. And I simply had to tell you the entire story myself.”
“They do sound like wonderful people, Eren and Historia. I wish I could meet them,” said the child.
At that very moment a voice came through the heavens: “There is little time left.”
Tears sprung in the Storyteller’s eyes. He stood up and helped the little girl to her feet, before going down on one knee and taking the child’s hand.
“You will meet them,” he told her. “Do you not wonder why I call you ‘Princess’?”
“I’ve been wondering the whole time, but assumed you were simply being sweet.”
“No, Princess,” said the Storyteller. “Because you literally are a princess. Eren Jaeger is your father, and Historia Reiss, the queen, is your mother. Soon you will meet them.”
The child gasped, wide-eyed with wonder. “If I have yet to meet them, why am I here? How did I get here?”
“You are in Paths, a place where all Eldian consciousness is interconnected, and where space-time is nonlinear and malleable. I asked your father and Founder Ymir to put me here along with a future version of you, so I can tell you the story firsthand.”
“You wanted me to know all about my parents and how much they loved each other,” observed the child, looking at him with affection and gratitude shining through her clear green eyes. “And you wanted me to know the Nine Titans, and the sacrifice they made.”
Nodding, the Storyteller gently squeezed her hand. “You won’t remember any of this after you are born, but it will all come back to you in a dream when you are nine years old.”
Nine. Nine was the magic number. The rumbling took place nine years to the day since Eren was titanized. Only the Attack Titan with the help of the Founder had the power to turn back time, and he was able to go back to nine months ago. The combined powers of the Nine Titans enabled Eren to do all this. But without his cooperation, nothing could have been done. Nine years ago, Grisha gave him the key to the basement and unlocked the secrets of their world. Nine years later, Eren himself became the key to solving the Eldian Problem, and along with it unlocked the secrets of the universe.
She was thoughtful for a while. “What happens to the Nine after they make their sacrifice? I feel terrible for them, having to leave their loved ones behind.”
“The shifters have nine days to set their affairs in order, to say their goodbyes. Afterwards, they move to a new plane of existence, a different dimension. There are Nine Realms in the universe, and our planet is just a tiny speck in the vastness of these realms; there’s plenty of time-space waiting to be seen and explored.”
“But won’t they be lonely?”
This the Storyteller didn’t have a concrete answer to, because he didn’t know for sure. Loneliness, companionship, sadness, joy, pain, pleasure, love, hate… such feelings were for sentient beings on the planet. Did these exist in other realms, in dimensions yet to be discovered? He could only guess.
“They will exist in a state distinct from your own. There will be no loneliness, no pain, no sadness,” he replied. He was making it up, of course, but it was a lie built upon kindness. Why burden this child when she will have to grow up in a world filled with all these emotions, perhaps too much of them, and all at the same time?
She grinned at him. “I’m glad to hear that!” she said, happily.
The clock was ticking. Again he spoke, making sure he brought his point home.
“I wanted you to know all about your incredible father, Eren Jaeger. There was no one like him, before or since. The greatest man to walk the face of this planet. He not only saved Paradis, he saved the entire world. It was all because of him, and the strength of his will and his true love for his family and friends, that you will be born to a world where you can live like a normal person, an ordinary human being.”
“Is that a good thing, being ordinary?” the child asked innocently.
Inside the Storyteller’s head flashed a horrific collage of scenes from various Eldians’ consciousness: Pixys and his entire brigade transforming into titans who ate their own people; Grisha weeping as he injected his own son with the serum, and the resulting clueless titan devouring him; Ueli Reiss tied up atop a cliff inside a cave waiting for his beloved niece Frieda to devour him; Dina in tears telling Grisha at the edge of the wall that no matter what happens, she will spend her entire life looking for him, and then her finding Eren and devouring Carla Jaeger, Hannes, others; Levi watching in horror as every precious soldier in his squadron titanized in the forest and he had to kill them one by one; Connie weeping over Ragako village and his helpless titanized mother struggling and being unable to convey her love for him and how proud she was of him; Marleyan military kicking bound Eldians off of airships and watching as they transformed and devoured entire cities. Countless images of total mayhem and agonising death and destruction, flashing by endlessly like the devil’s carousel. The Storyteller’s eyes clouded with tears. Ordinary humans were vicious and brutal and nasty, but using a particular mutant race amongst them as weapons of war was beyond evil.
“It is a good thing to be ordinary, believe you me,” he replied, firmly.
“Okay,” said the little girl, nodding her head and believing him.
“There is also something else I want to tell you. You see, Princess, your father has to leave you soon after you are born. Because of the sacrifice, he cannot stay with you and raise you and watch you grow up. It breaks his heart like no other, do you understand?”
The child nodded again, with a sad but understanding look on her face.
“You will grow up, Princess, and there will be times when you look around and see your friends with their fathers, and wish your own father was by your side. There will be times when you are sad and lonely and uncertain, and you wish for your father to hug you and hold you in his arms and tell you everything will be okay,” said the Storyteller, tears beginning to fall down his cheeks. “You will wish for your father’s smile and praise when you succeed at something, and long for his feedback when things go wrong. You will want his guidance when you are troubled and have to make difficult decisions. There will be times when you simply want to hold his hand and see him smiling at you, with your love for him reflected in his eyes, and his reflected right back at you.”
Ah, there was little time left. The child seemed to understand this instinctively, and waited for him to continue.
“During these times, when you are sad and lonely and long for your father’s companionship and love, I want you to look up at the stars, little Princess,” he said, through his tears. “Look up at the stars and see your father’s face etched amongst their twinkling lights. Look up at the stars and—despite your pain and fears—please understand one thing, a thing I am most certain of as the sun rises in the west: that Eren Jaeger loves you, more than life itself, more than the universe, more than anything conceivable and known to man.”
“Eren, my father, loves me, and that’s why he had to sacrifice his life,” the child nodded her understanding. “Because of him I no longer have to titanize and devour my own mother. Because of him I can grow up in an ordinary world without titans. Because of him I can be a happy little girl.”
The tears were now flowing freely down the Storyteller’s cheeks. The child understood, and it was all he wanted in the world. He closes his eyes and sighs. At last, he was able to fulfill his final role as the Storyteller. He feels cloth touch his face. The child was gently wiping his tears with the long sleeves of her dress.
“Please don’t cry, Mr Storyteller,” she was saying. “You’ve just told me the most beautiful story I could ever hope to hear. I will surely look up at the stars and remember my father.”
Suddenly there was a voice, an old familiar one: “It is time.”
“I have to go now, little Princess. And you have to go, too. Go and meet your parents.” He kisses her forehead before turning his back and walking away.
“Mr Storyteller,” the child calls out.
He turns around and takes one last look at the marvel child, this wonder of wonders. Had she been worth fighting for, worth dying for? Yes, absolutely, yes.
“Which amongst the characters in the story are you?” she asks.
“I am Armin.”
“Thank you, Mr Armin. Thank you for being my father’s best friend. Thank you for not giving up on him. Thank you for not giving up on the world.”
The young man smiles. “It was my honor,” he says, bowing deeply, “Your Royal Highness.”
“And when you meet with the other Nine Titans before you go on your journey,” the child continued, placing a hand over her chest, “please tell them I love them. Tell them I thank them… that I’m deeply grateful, from the bottom of my heart.”
Gripping Eren’s hand with a strength that amazed him, Historia gave one last push and the baby arrived, crying out lustily, breathing and screaming as if she were saying, here I am, now deal with it.
The proud parents, tears of joy streaming down their faces, breathe out a joint sigh of relief. Cutting the umbilical cord, washing and wrapping the baby in a soft blanket that Frieda had once gifted Historia and which she’d carefully and lovingly kept all these years, the head midwife hands the baby to her mother. She cradles the newborn in her arms, then looks at her beloved.
“Ymir,” she says to Eren, her heart filled with so much joy she felt she would explode.
Smiling back, he strokes her hair, nods his approval, “Princess Ymir.” He gazes tenderly at mother and child, and despite the abiding fear for his progeny that a parent feels deep in his bones, Eren knew he did everything in his power—and perhaps beyond—to secure this child’s future.
The midwives weep with elation, birds burst into song, wild deer in the forest grunt out their reverence, wolves raise their heads toward the moon and howl in deference, bears rear on their hind legs and roar in veneration, and even the stars seem to twinkle twice as bright. A miracle, a true miracle, has arrived and the world is on its knees in adulation.
Eren takes his child in his arms and embraces her, saying, “You are free.”
That’s it for this story. Thank you so much for reading! Please please please take a moment to say hi in the comment section below. It’s so lonely and discouraging to find out I haven’t got any readers. Your comments are the only way I know my stories are getting read. Even just one sentence from you will give me the encouragement I need to keep on writing. Feel free to use a pseudonym and dummy email address. Please say something—anything at all—just to let me know you’ve finished reading. Comments do mean the world to me—THANK YOU. xoxo, hana
If you enjoyed the story and have come here via Archive of Our Own (AO3), please leave kudos there to help improve the story’s ranking. Thank you! xoxo, hana
Thank you to wonderful readers madquueennhisu and YarunDaNeKokoDe for sharing their ideas regarding the key and the significance of the number 9, respectively, and to countrygal77 for inspiring me to expand on the tree memorial concept. You can read their original comments below. I was inspired by José Ignacio’s seminal essay which I talked about here, with regard to the idea of Eren surpassing his father and having a child to end the cycle of titan inheritance.
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