15 Cornered (2)

Mina's POV

Curiously enough, being inside a transparent half-body of a one-eyed titan brought me a sense of peace. The smoke emitted from the sudden transformation of Eren covered the entire corner of the wall, shielding us from the Garrison's eyes. To add more beauty and flare to this scenario, I noticed a flower safely tucked in the middle of this monstrous being that everyone claims to be.

My eyes eventually wandered around to survey our surroundings. Earlier, Eren was holding onto Armin and Mikasa, but after his transformation, he immediately got himself stuck on the nape of this rotting titan's body. I eventually helped Armin to stand, noticing how his legs continued to tremble.

"Are you scared, Armin?" 

His eyes slowly connected to mine as pure terror covered his features. He replied, "A-aren't you?"

I could only shrug my shoulders while gently patting his back. "We have Eren and Mikasa in this corner. Doesn't it already feel safe?"

Armin gulped. "B-but we're inside a huge skeleton-"

"Eren protected us." I nodded my head upon hearing Mikasa's voice and felt a few broken bones falling on my body. "That's all we need to know for now." 

"Mikasa is right." I dusted my shoulder before finally pointing upwards to where Eren was located. "Shouldn't we get him? The head is about to fall off."

"Get him where?" Mikasa intrudes, worry apparent in her gaze. However, just when I was about to tell her his whereabouts, she noticed my pointed finger and immediately maneuvered herself to where I was pointing. 

I chuckled. Protective as always, Mikasa.

Not even a minute had passed when she returned with Eren in tow. His gaze landed upon us, and he hurriedly asked, "Are you guys okay?!"

I had a feeling that Armin was about to ask him some questions, so I kept my mouth shut and simply gave him a thumbs-up. Upon noticing that they started conversing with each other, I made my way towards the nearest flesh that I could touch, curious as to what it may feel.

However, just when I was a mere inch away from the rotting shell, someone forcibly pulled my arm. Based on its rough hold on me, I didn't need to look up just to know that it was Eren who stopped me.

"What-" 

"It's dangerous here!" He continues to pull me away from my desire to touch his titan form as Mikasa grabs ahold of my other arm. "Stop being curious and prioritize your safety!" 

"He's right, Mina." Mikasa continues to hold me even when Eren finally lets my arm go. However, being the daughter of someone so stubborn as my father, I was about to tell them that I'd be fine. As mysterious as to how the world truly works, Mikasa began to take the dust off my hair just when I was about to speak. 

That action was enough to keep my mouth shut.

"The Garrison isn't doing anything right now," Eren mumbled under his breath as I noticed Armin walking up towards him. "But they'll attack again before long. After showing them this, I doubt we'll be able to talk our way out."

It was then that we all noticed how he lifted the key that was hung around his neck. My eyes shimmered in anticipation of what secrets it would unravel. It, however, only lasted for a second at most as I quickly recalled the horrors that it has given to humanity, and mostly to my father. 

"But I do remember one thing…" Eren's eyes were filled with determination and a newfound goal. "The basement." 

"…"

Fuck.

It's their fucking basement.

He continued. "The basement of my house. Dad said that if I go there, I'll learn everything. This happened to me because of him, too." That is certainly true, Eren. Not that I'll ever voice those words out. "If I go to the basement, I'll probably learn what the Titans are."

As rage consumes his whole being, my eyes wander to his trembling arm, making me predict where he's going to smash his hand. So, as a reflex, I held out my hand and caught his impulsive exertion. 

It's not fair of him to deny me of my desires while he, on the other hand, can just smash his way through. I heaved a long sigh and immediately reprimanded him. "Stop hurting yourself, Eren. It might not mean anything to you, but that doesn't apply to everybody." 

I gave Mikasa a sideways glance before returning my gaze to this infuriated boy. Who knew that the younger version of my father was a piece of work? Mother really loved him. 

"Let me go," Eren ordered me and tried pulling his arm away, which I completely ignored. Instead of letting him go and allowing him the chance to feel alone and lost again, I simply held his wrist even tighter than I wanted to. "Mina!"

I huffed. "You're angry. We get it. But instead of focusing on something that is meant for later, we should think of a way to get out of here." 

"But it's infuriating!" He took a step closer to me but was instantly held back by Mikasa. Her action completely baffled me, but I can't exactly show that certain reaction now, can I? "It was in our basement all along! Isn't that information what thousands of Survey Corps soldiers have died for? Isn't it humanity's last hope?!"

"It isn't Eren!"

I knew that he still had a lot to say, but I couldn't listen to this crap anymore. He must have noticed a change in my expression because his rage immediately dissipated. It wasn't my intention, and it was certainly a careless move from me, so I could only loosen my hold on his wrist and continued. "Learning more about the Titans doesn't solidify humanity's hope of survival. Don't you know that the truth may sometimes hurt us instead? Please, I beg of you, don't think like that!" 

Or you'll someday lose yourself, and I can't allow that to happen, not anymore.

"I'm sorry." I stepped away from them after realizing what I had just done and chuckled. "That was completely inappropriate of me."

"N-no it's," Eren scratched his head and languidly continued. "It's fine."

"Mina's right, Eren." 

Praise Mikasa! 

She withdrew herself from holding Eren and continued, "Right now, we have other priorities." 

The smoke was already clearing up when we got out of the titan's protection. The Garrison was still there, those pesky and annoying bunch – except for Hannes of course – and it seems that they've become even more terrified than earlier.

It's quite an amusing sight.

Right on cue, the titan shell that Eren left at our backs began to fall apart, shaking the ground in the process. Armin's body swayed, prompting me to wrap my arm around his waist for balance. 

"Thanks." He muttered.

"No problem."

Eren ushered us to kneel beside him, letting us know of his plan.

That sucked, by the way.

I tried my best to listen, but damn it my idiotic and young father, the plan you're elaborating right now that I can't simply comprehend is too childish and heroic!

It's quite understandable that one would feel the need to push their way through chaos just to attain that valuable information that he highly believes is stored in their basement. Still, he can't just leave and allow this misunderstanding to escalate. Besides, Eren's eyes clearly show how clueless he currently is and how he's letting his emotions drive instead of logic.

Speaking of logic…

My gaze eventually landed upon the trembling soldier whom I've come to respect in this world.

Armin continues to feel hopeless as Eren insists on leaving this place alone, and proceeds toward their basement. Mikasa wanted to join him, but he aggressively refused her insistence on doing so. It's painful and a bit irritating to watch, so I let out a soft sigh and squarely smacked Armin's back.

He yelped so badly that it halted Eren and Mikasa's small argument.

"W-Why'd you do that?" He asks me as tears begin to pool around his eyes.

Now I feel bad.

I instantly decided to ignore such emotion and spoke, "You're thinking right now, Armin. Care to share?"

"Huh?" His shock was evident, and I noticed how sweaty his palms had become.

This is the Armin that I have never seen in my first life. The person that I knew then was both mature and wise, allowing me to witness how beautiful my parents' bond was with him. Things never changed, huh?

The sour mood that I earlier had had now vanished, and what replaced it was this simple yet elegant feeling.

Warmth.

"As their friend," I reached out to him, wishing for his confidence to finally arise in battle; that deep within those pure and clear blue eyes contained an amazing man who would do anything for his friends. And so, I plead, "Save them."

He slightly opened his mouth, openly expressing his confusion.

However, just when I was about to elaborate, Eren spoke. "I said I've come up with two options. Mina's hunch is right. Armin, I'll let you decide."

Now he's become even more shocked. 

Mikasa and I continued to listen to their conversation, which eventually made me chuckle in amusement. But more than that, all I can think about right now is how beautiful their friendship is. Eren's trust in Armin is not something that I have seen in my original world, so It's quite refreshing to witness this situation unfold. 

Even more so while gazing upon his heartfelt salute that eventually touched the heart of the very person who has freed us from this predicament. 

What a long day, and it's still far from being over. 

*****

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