Fail to the King! is a Disgaea fanfic written by Varanus and based on the events of Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice. The plot’s gimmick is that it’s set after the alternate “Super Hero Almaz” ending, which features Almaz being crowned Overlord and Dean of Nether Institute by Mao’s father and then being abandoned by the rest of the group for various reasons. While it’s largely considered a gag ending by the fandom (you need to jump through a few hoops to get it instead of the normal ending and several characters act very OOC by abandoning Almaz), FttK takes the notion of Almaz being Overlord and runs with it, turning Almaz’s Downer Ending into a Sequel Hook.The story picks up a week later when Aria, a kunoichi and former vassal of Mao, is assigned by a mysterious benefactor to check up on Almaz and finds that he’s been stuck in a Heroic BSOD since the end of the game. One hilariously brutal Bright Slap later, Almaz gets his shit together and decides to get to work on this whole “being Overlord” thing. Unfortunately, he’s got a lot to learn and no time to learn it in, because a mysterious and powerful new foe has just breezed into town with dark designs for the academy and ambitions that span the multiverse...
Also, the idea of EmpathicWeapons is a favorite of the author, which fits in nicely with the magichange system.
Author's Saving Throw: Invoked, even if it isn't the original author. Sapphire’s Character Derailment in the Almaz Ending is explained as the princess being overwhelmed, confused, and angry at the notion that Almaz has become the Overlord she set out to kill but covering it up with her usual façade. Her first major scene in the story has her regretting her actions and trying to get back to Almaz to sort out her feelings.
Awesomeness by Analysis: Mao. In a flashback to the Almaz ending from his perspective, it's shown he actually calculates his attack patterns and enemy's predicted movements beforehand, right down to the angle his sword strokes make. Turns out, whenever he said 'My calculations were off a bit', he meant it.
Battle Aura: Monty seems perpetually surrounded by a bright yellow aura leaking out of his armor. Turns out his body is nothing but aura. Being The Faceless, it also served as an Expressive Hair of sorts.
Beat Them at Their Own Game: Almaz averts an early assassination attempt by Rasberyl by inviting them to breakfast and generally acting more polite than them, then calling them out and making them look rude for trying to kill such a gracious host.
During the battle against Monty, when they were dueling in the Up to ElevenInfinite Graves, Almaz wins by using Monty's own swords against him. Seeing as how Monty had previously described those swords as his soul, he basically saw it as a very brutal, humiliating 'Stop hitting yourself!' moment. No wonder Monty had to suppress a minor Villainous Breakdown when the attack ended.
Breaking Speech: Tav and Zenon play freaking ping-pong with these things during their battle in chapter 21; first with Zenon mocking Tav for thinking his despair could ever match hers, then Tav countering with a Kirk Summation...
"Can you really claim to be so lonely with Adell by your side?"
...and immediately launching into his own "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Which is then turned right around and thrown back at him after Adell performs his own Dynamic Entry and Zenon admits that he's right.
"Feel this, Etem. Feel the depth of my despair and solitude. May your knees buckle under the weight and let the black tide of sorrow drown you as you fall into oblivion. Take all of my anger, all of my pain, all of my sadness – I have no more need of it. I am free of it!"
Almaz remembers one point where a demon stole his pants while he was sleeping and set a Baciel on him during his early Academy days. Turns out Phoenix did it.
Adell kicking the side of his house.
Why Adell hates Monty Python.
Chekhov's Gunman: Aurum vanishes several chapters in and goes on a quest to find his old heroic nature again. It’s a sure bet we’ll be seeing him again sooner or later.
A slightly more meta version with Aurum: during the Almaz ending, you never see him leave the throne room... because he didn't. Also, Champloo vanished during the Almaz Ending and hasn't been seen in the Netherworld since... because he was taking a holiday in Rhodonite Kingdom. His first appearance has him giving critical advice to, ironically, Almaz's mother.
The Chessmaster: Cinos is a villainous version of this. Interestingly, he’s clearly not a perfect Magnificent Bastard; he succeeds in isolating Sapphire and Aurum and trapping them in the human world and he lures Almaz and several of his vassals into a deathtrap, but he openly states later on that he didn’t count on them surviving and hooking up with the Disgaea 2 crowd.
Subverted. Whatever Monty really is, he is NOT Almaz's friend as shown in Chapter 23. At best it views Almaz as just another thing to corrupt and tarnish. Subverted AGAIN when the real soul of the weapon is shown to actually rather like the kid.
Did You See That Too?: Between Adell and Yukimaru after Aria intercepts them and gives Almaz a piece of her mind.
Dramatic Irony: Any reader who finished Disgaea 2 is well aware that Rozalin is both Zenon, the Overlord that Tav is hunting for revenge... and the little girl from the Snow Village that he almost gave up his quest to become a father for. He isn't.
Evil Weapon: Sienna's cursed axe fits the description perfectly, and has displayed a disturbing habit of forcing its wielder to relive their memories. Mao seems to be able to suppress it to a degree.
Mao even lampshades it when he sees it, because it "positively screamed evil". It's been revealed that it is in fact the Grand Madness, the ultimate axe weapon in Disgaea 3, and is slowly driving Mao (more) insane.
The Faceless: Monty's helmet covers his face, and once that helmet gets knocked off, he's promptly killed and transforms into a sword.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Averted! Many of the gameplay elements Disgaea is best known for have actual effects in the story. Leveling, transmigration, mana and weapon skills have all seen use so far.
Hard Work Hardly Works: Played with. Jericho has spent his long lifetime transmigrating over and over to perfect his skill with the sword with the side-effect being a huge number of useful skills such as healing, sensing mana, Stealth Hi/Bye and the ability to create and manipulate Dimension Gates. These skills come in handy a lot in the story, but on the other hand, despite centuries of training every canon main character is still stronger than him despite the fact they've only been fighting for a few months, tops.
Homage: Infinite Graves is already noted on the Disgaea page to be an Unlimited Blade Works reference but Almaz’s battle with Monty takes it Up to Eleven and more directly references the Shirou vs Gilgamesh battle in UBW, with swords flying every which way and Almaz’s copied blades breaking with every use.
Incredibly Lame Pun: In Chapter 13: "About the phone call… even with the best telephone service, there's a problem with calling other planets. A big problem. Huge. It's the rates. They're astronomical."
I Surrender, Suckers: Phoenix, when caught in an ambush, tosses her spear away and unconditionally surrenders. Cinos catches it after it cut through several stories of the castle and throws it back to her while the heroes' guard is down.
It's explictedly stated by The Emcompasser later that part of the reason he didn't want to work with Cinos was he enjoys deliberately withholding information until it suits his purposes to reveal it. And Cinos does exactly that after figuring out Rozalin is the reborn Zenon.
Mental World: Phoenix enters her own heart at one point, the inside of which is a Phantom filled white-hot iron city built atop a sun, floating in a starless abyss. This is directly contrasted to Mao's crystal wasteland in Disgaea 3. Apparently the trick to traversing these worlds is an Alternate Character Interpretation of whoever's heart you're in.
Almaz's heart takes the form of an enormous city made of copper with a diamond replica of Rhodonite Castle at its center.
It was a routine plan – Step One, crash in, kill everything inside. Step Two, steal everything that wasn't nailed down. Step Three, steal the nails. He was a little sketchy about Step Four, but Step Five was supposed to be pure profit.
Noodle Incident: At one point, waking up in an unfamiliar room, Almaz idly remembers all the other times in the past that he's woken up in a strange room, wandering around in the middle of the night after somebody had stolen his pants, trying to avoid demons, only one time a Baciel spotted him and— At which point he re-suppresses the memory.
Adell refuses to comment on what made him hate Monty Python, but it's somehow Axel's fault.
OC Stand In: Several. Aria and several other vassals from Mao’s army are all based on the generic player units, and Cyprus is the Cu Sith that Sapphire summons for her Shunpo Moondance technique. The rest are all run-of-the-mill Original Characters.
Same goes for the antagonists, only with slight adjustments. Cinos himself is a Heretic (male healer) wearing a cape/robe, Phoenix is a Valkyrie with gauntlets as well as greaves, Sienna was a Heavy Knight/Berserker and Tav is a mix between a Sinner from Disgaea 2 and a Brawler from Disgaea 3.
Oh, Crap: Plenty, but of particular note is Adell's after learning his new friend Tav is seeking revenge on Overlord Zenon.
Omake: An extra scene at the end of Chapter 10 explaining why Adell got the Monty Python references.
Wham Episode: Chapters 19-21. Lots of big reveals. Mainly that the Big Bads are all Item Gods, and Cinos plans to force Zenon's hand by anniliating Holt Village.
Then in 20, Phoenix can use Chartreuse Gale. And summons the dead from Rhodonite.
And 21... Rozalin awakens both Zenon and Etolie's power. And Cinos reveals he was the one who sent Aria. Oh, and Monty is Kobayashi, and Phoenix kills Almaz.
The Worf Effect: According to Word Of God, Chapter 15 deliberately invokes this to fully establish Phoenix as a threat, given the author's disappointment at how easily she was dealt with during her debut.
Another case with a different character, Jericho's injury , a burnt hole where his left lung should be, should relegate him to bed rest. Instead, he 'appeals' a petition in the Dark Assembly and, more seriously, charges off to distract a giant lava serpent from destroying Holt, all while only being held together by his own mana and resolve.