Scent of Lilly and Rose
Mike's nose had always given him the edge with everything; he had always smelled things before anything ever happened. He could smell when his mother was cooking before they were even within the walls of the city; out in the grass lands between Wall Rose and Wall Maria. He could always smell his friends when they were in the bushes and tree's playing 'Scout and Titan'. That day they had returned to the Utopia district, Mike, his sister Lynn and three others of their friends; Katelyn, Verald and Harath.
Mike held a bundle of fish that had been bought by the group, his and Lynn's mother instructing them to use the few coins they had been given to bring fish, bundles of kindling for fire and fresh fruit from the market stalls.
'That was fun today!' Lynn panted as she carried the small wrapped bundle of fruit. Katelyn was Lynn's friend and had been welcomed into Mike's friends Verald and Harath. She spoke up and chuckled.
'Until Mike sniffed us out again! He's a damn Titan hunter' she laughed softly, punching him in the arm and almost dropping the sticks she carried. Mike smiled at her, scratching the bottom of his nose as he usually did.
'Just got lucky I guess' He smiled. 'It's easy to find you Katelyn, you've got a unique smell' he told her and then suddenly blushed.
Verald and Harath laughed and started giggling 'Mike and Katelyn, sitting on the Wall, K-I-S-S-I-N-G' they didn't get that far as Katelyn slapped the back of their heads.
Walking along and up to the house; a single floored building among the many houses that usually lined a city along the wall. Mike and the gang entered the front door.
'Ma we're home' Mike called and put the bundle on the side, his father wasn't here, as a member of the Garrison force he was out on duty. His mother came out and kissed her daughter and son's forehead while nodding to the other three.
'Hello Mrs Zacharius' the all spoke and nodded to Mike and Lynn and left for their own homes not too far away.
'Alright you two… you better get ready for bed, I'm not having you both running up and down all night. Lynn, go make the bath, Mike, get your nose peg on and help with the fish' she teased, Mike smiling with a sarcastic smile before helping his mother.
Lynn's red hair was tied into a pony tail as she poured hot water from the brass tap into the large metal bath tub while Mike used a knife and carefully cut out the bones.
The night passed and their father returned, drinking with his wife before heading back to bed with her. The next morning they had school and learnt more about the differences between the Scout Legion, the Garrison and the Military Police as well as more about the Royalty in the inner walls.
Once school was over, they rushed home, dumped their things and in a hurried ramble told their parents they were going out again to play. They headed into the nearby forest and met with the others whom jumped the pair.
Laughing and giggling, they played well into the afternoon; Mike picking out his sister very easily with her unique scent of Roses, Roses did not grow here or nearby so she was easy to spot. Neither was the new scent he picked up, he was sure it was another flower; maybe Lilly? But they didn't grow here. It had to be Katelyn.
The group would never know how the Titan's had gotten into the walls between Rose and Maria and they would never know what had caused them to appear now or be undetected.
Mike was the first to smell them. He stood there in silence, looking up as a breeze passed through the opening in the trees.
'Do you smell that?' he asked, Lynn stood next to him; holding two sticks as swords.
'Smell what?' she asked and turned to him, giggling as she thought he smelt the others. 'You're probably picking up Katelyn, she's wearing new perfume for you, Lilly flower' she giggled again, 'I think she likes you' she told him.
Mike liked her too but wouldn't admit it; they were young and only kids. Boys hated girls and girls hated boys; that's how it was supposed to be when you were kids.
'It's not that… I can smell that, it's… something else… I can't describe it' He mumbled, scratching his nose and taking a few steps before sniffing again. 'I smell it… over there' he motioned north, towards Wall Maria.
A scream filled the glade and Lynn stopped to stare out past the way he pointed; where the scream came from. 'That was… Verald' she mumbled.
That was when it burst through the tree's, a young boy in its mouth; well, half one. Lynn froze as she went white. Mike couldn't move, couldn't scream, he wanted to tell them to run, to hide… To flee the Titan.
Someone else was running from the tree's, it was Harath, he was trying to avoid the Titan but it was useless, he was squashed under the feet of the giant like a rotten fruit; blood coating the green grass and berry bushes.
'Harath!' Lynn yelled and then clasped her mouth with both hands. The Titan stared up from where it was looking at its dark red foot and locked eyes with the pair.
In an instant it began to break into a run, charging at them with its jaw slack and its hands flopping at its side as if useless; even though it clearly had used them a moment ago.
'Run!' Mike finally spoke and grabbed his sisters shoulder and moved her back, he stood his ground for a moment as if he was going to fight it only to run with her; grasping her wrist to keep her moving.
Tears streaked down Lynn's cheeks as she was half dragged half guided through the trees. The ground shook with every footstep of the Titan, it was getting closer. Daring to take a look over her shoulder, she found it less than a hundred meters away.
That was when she felt the world turn upside down and her face hit the dirt; pain running through her body from scratches and grazes on her knees and hands.
Mike ran a few more feet before sliding to a stop, kicking up dirt as he did so. 'Lynn!' he yelled with a scream. Running back he wouldn't make it; the Titan was on them.
A rock flew out of nowhere and hit the Titan in the face, causing it to jolt and hit a nearby tree. Turning its large head, it found where the source was.
Katelyn was stood about a hundred meters away with half a dozen rocks in her arms. Throwing a few more she screamed 'Over here you dumb ass!' then broke into a run.
The Titan, forgetting about its current prey, burst into another run after the young girl. Mike took this chance and ran to his sister. 'Lynn, we have to get to the wall, tell the guards' he told her but she couldn't move.
'My leg hurts' she cried through a face of tears, looking down, her foot was twisted the wrong way; she'd either badly twisted it or broken it and by the cries, it was the latter.
Taking a deep breath, Mike picked her up and piggy backed her. 'Leave me Mike, You'll only be slowed down' she whimpered but he didn't say anything; he only ran.
He could smell the Titan a few hundred meters away, and still smell the scent of Katelyn's new perfume. She was still safe… maybe…
'Titan!' he yelled as they reached the open field, five hundred meters from the wall. He repeated his yell over and over as the guards by the gate slowly turned to face him.
That was when the tree's behind the children burst into splinters and the Titan came out into the open. The men stood in shock. A Titan had not been seen inside the walls, ever! Had wall Maria been breached?
Mike still smelt Katelyn, where was she? He turned over his shoulder and saw her. The young blonde haired girl was hanging from the titan's mouth, her head, shoulders and arms visible but nothing else but a blood splattered corpse.
The tears that had already been dribbling down his face began to run even more as he broke into a sprint. He'd never run so fast in his life.
But it wasn't good enough. Something tight gripped him and his legs failed to touch the ground for the next step. Screaming in his ear, Lynn cried. Horrid breath filled Mike's nose as he faced the Titan, staring at them as it moved them to its gaping maw.
This was it; he was dead… just like his friends, just like his sister would be, just like… Katelyn…
Then the ground hit him. He had not seen it, but he'd caught the scent just after the rush of rotting and bile filled his senses, a new scent… Hard steel, wood and gas.
Peering up, hot steam filled his vision but he saw it; the green cloak, the Three Dimensional Manoeuvring Gear…
…and the Wings of Freedom! A Scout Legionnaire.
The Scout had cut through the wrist of the Titan and let the hand fall, Lynn was screaming again. Mike began to pull the hands apart and pulled Lynn out. 'Come on Lynn… we have to move!' he insisted and picked her back up, princess style in his arms.
The clash of hard steel and flesh could be heard behind him, Mike turned and watched. The Titan was flicking its hand and stump around to try and catch the fly that buzzed around him. The scout was making a name for himself, he was avoiding the hits and using both the Tree's about fifty meters back, the nearby windmill and the wall to dodge and move around the Titan.
Lynn was gone from his arms, Mike suddenly looked and saw a flash of red shaking something about ten meters away, and it was a body. He began to run and call 'Lynn! Get back here!' but it was too late.
Lynn looked up from Katelyn's body and stared into Mike's eyes. He would never forget that stare; she had no idea that it had killed her.
The Titan's mouth snapped on her neck from above, decapitating the young girl in a single bite, a quick death… but a death none the less.
'No…' Mike mumbled, and then shook his head as tears filled his eyes. 'No… no… NO!' He broke into a run, a wooden stick in his hand like a two handed blade and charged the Titan. The scout Legionnaire came down and swooped him into his arms before Mike was taken in the chomping maw of the beast.
'No! I need to get her!' Mike yelled but the man simply held on tight. Mike landed by the wall in the arms of another man, a Garrison force soldier. The Scout took off and moved to chase after the Titan that had begun to run off into the forest.
Mike had no idea he was in the arms of his father, whom had watched the entire thing and simply stood by; even with the gear strapped to his waist, he could not do anything even when his own son, a boy of only ten years of age had charged the titan with a stick no bigger than his arm. He'd stood by with full gear and did nothing when his daughter was killed.
Mike watched the scout take off through the trees, his three dimensional gear hissing and bringing out clouds of gas in his wake.
All he saw was his sister's gaze, Katelyn's face, his other friends too. All he saw were the Wings of Freedom. All he smelt was the Titan that had destroyed his life.
~* Some Years Later *~
Standing on the wall of Wall Rose, Mike slowly fell and landed near the small bridge that extended out from the gate, he walked into the field and past the old windmill that stuck in its spin. Everything was rotting out here: crops, building, and life.
It was after the breach of Wall Maria, the re-sealing of Wall Rose and the capture of the Titan Shifter Annie; she was being held in this city, the city where he came from. He had stopped to see his father and mother, whom had been happy to see him when he appeared suddenly.
Walking to the patch of dirt where the grass had never seemed to grow again, Mike slowly knelt down and placed the red rose on the spot where his sister had died. There was nothing here of course, no graves inside the wall; no room for them, so a name had simply been recorded on the large gate house, every death by a titan was recorded here. The wall had been updated since then but it still was there Lynn Zacharius – Aged 7.
The wind caught through the trees and a small creek of wood filled the air. Mike's nose shifted, a scent had filled the air, a scent he'd known for years now but this one was something else; that scent… it was that one.
Standing to full height, Mike stared where his nose led him, into the trees. He began to walk. His men on the wall looked at each other and called out to him but he ignored them, so they left him; they didn't know why he'd carried the rose here but had guessed the reason.
The trees were the same, the path was the same, and everything was the same. The scent was the same. Walking through the familiar tree's, Mike had never returned here after the incident, he'd tried to find that Scout Legionnaire but could never find who it was; it had apparently been a member whom was collecting supplies for an Expedition East but had to collect something from that city for the group.
There was no sound, which was his first clue, the scent was getting stronger. Slowly unhooking the grips from his armpits, Mike put them to the holster with a slight click.
That click was all that was needed. The Titan burst out the trees and Mike shot into the air, he knew it had been there. The bolt hit the tree in front of him and brought him several meters into the air; spinning around and firing again.
The Titan jumped and tried to grab him like a small child trying to fight a bully whom held their toy higher than they were.
'Time to die bastard' Mike snarled and swung; he would not succumb to his anger, he would not charge in like a rookie and get wiped out. He was a Squad Leader, Second only to Levi, if not equal to in skill.
As he swung around from tree to tree, the Titan watched, as if recognising him, it snarled at him; bones of something in its teeth.
Mike's anger grew now, he charged through the tree's, but not straight on, he swung from tree to tree and passed through another; zigzagging his way towards the beast before suddenly turning one hundred and eighty degree's, his back to the Titan.
Firing a bolt up in the air at a branch above, he fired his gas and suddenly went up in the air and around the top of the branch; swinging like a swing set pushed above the bars.
He came up and high into the air, high above the tall trees. Seeming to hang in the air like a bird, Mike thought he felt something touch his cheeks, looking up, he was sure he'd smelt the smell of Lilly and Rose. Katelyn and Lynn's scents.
There was no time to think about it, as he began to fall. This move was dangerous, he'd only ever done it once and that was years before and out of luck. Levi had once told him 'Never do that again, if you can kill it, kill it; don't play tricks with a Titan'. He had been young then, too young to understand a kill from a styled kill. He realised the difference pretty quickly when half a squad was wiped out.
The speed in which he fell was like a bullet, slicing down through the canopy and towards the Titan that was staring up at him; maw wide to catch him.
However he did not get a chance. Both bolts fired and impaled the beast in the eyes. As he fell past the head with a small burst of gas to dodge him, Mike swung under the beast's legs and up in the air…
The neck, the weak spot came apart in a single slice and mike landed on a nearby tree. Watching the Titan fall to the ground with a thud, Mike landed and pulled out his signal gun; firing a smoke into the air to signal he'd found a titan and to get reinforcements. Of course he'd taken it out but there could be more out here.
He doubted it; his nose would pick them up. Walking over to the corpse, he passed the mouth and pushed its lips open; slowly he began to pull out two things.
When the group had arrived, landing next to the body, they watched Mike as he knelt down, digging a small hole in the ground of the glade… the glade where the titan had first emerged all those years ago, the very one he'd just fought in. Was that coincidence or fate?
'What you got there Sir?' one of them asked, and then stepped back. Mike placed the two skulls in the hole and slowly covered it with dirt.
Looking to his right, he saw a Lilly and a Rose side by side, planted there in the glade. Picking them, he placed them on the fresh soil he'd just covered the skulls with and mumbled. 'For you, whom carry the Wings of Freedom, soar on high and wait, for we will meet again, my sister, Lynn and my friend, Katelyn. We will meet again, when I join thee, with my own pair of Wings.