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Fanfic: Path Of The King

Path of the King by Neoalfa is a Fate/stay night Fan Fiction in response to the author's Fridge Logic of Emiya Shirou not actually having done anything that heroic for a guy whose life goal is to become a "Hero of Justice."

Due to certain events, Shirou decides to take a more proactive approach about his dreams of helping people by fighting real-life crime, beginning his training years earlier than his canon counterpart under his father's guidance and with time becoming known as a Vigilante Man nicknamed the Archer. This is not an easy task even with the help of magic and between protecting his real identity, keeping himself under the notice of other magi and of course getting things done makes Shirou evolve into a different direction as person, hero and magus.

After the initial chapters, the plot thickens when the kidnapping of a close friend of Tohsaka Rin brings her and the Archer's attention to each other at the same time that Emiya Shirou is helping Rin to find her. A criminal case that will prove to have more far-reaching consequences than expected.

The story can be found in here and it has a dedicated forum thread here (beware of spoilers).

This fic provides examples of the following tropes, in addition to those already present in the source material:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Medea vaporizes Jun's arms and legs, while only Jin's legs are vaporized.
  • Amnesia Missed A Spot: Even though Tohsaka made a very good job manipulating Detective Dojima's memories with hypnosis to make him forget about the events related to Guilford's mansionnote , he still noticed that something was amiss because the reading of his car's odometer indicated about 50 kilometers more than the expected number.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Shirou didn't come up with the name Archer for his vigilante persona, but still uses it if it's required.
  • Attractiveness Isolation: Rin and Yukiko, probably the reason why they made friends with each other in this continuity.
  • Awful Truth: Shirou flat-out tells Saber that the grail won't grant her wish.
  • Badass Normal: Dojima, a non-magical policeman tries to fight off an assassin magus by shooting at him. When that doesn't work, he brings out the Uzis.
  • Battle Couple: Not a couple per se, but Archer and Rin's Casual Danger Dialog can come across as flirty. This is notable because it only happens after she figured out his Secret Identity.
  • Being Watched: Like his canon counterpart, Shirou is very apt to notice when someone is watching him. Further developed after certain unrelated training made him sensitive enough to perceive a someone well-versed on the ways of magi who had him under surveillance.
  • Big Eater: Medea. According to Shirou, it must be a Servant thing.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: Shirou to Nezumi's would-be murderer. Done more realistically than usual considering he used a modified metal arrow to do it (i.e. more mass and no shrapnel).
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: One of the reasons why Shirou makes a point to learn an unarmed fighting style even if he can boost his body beyond human capabilities. The other being to prove to Kuzuki that the Snake, the set of fighting techniques taught to him during his youth as a killing method, can be used for good.
    • It pays off handsomely in chapter 25. During his fight with Ciel, Shirou realized that she can't die by mundane means, turning the normally lethal techniques into fair play for that particular case.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: It happens to Rin when a group of five men assaulted her and a few of her friends from school. The gang wouldn't normally be a problem for her, but she is unable to find a way to deal with the situation bare handed while keeping all the girls safe or using magic and then wiping their memories afterwards.
  • Broken Masquerade: Medea undoes Dojima's Mental Manipulation, revealing the nature of magic and how over his head he was. Shirou comes clean to both him and Taiga later to forge an alliance.
  • Call Back: The mention of a couple of JASDF F-15s that went MIA during the events of Fate/Zero.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Shirou after dreaming of Medea's past thanks to what he could read from Rule Breaker.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In chapter 4, Shirou mentions that he's repairing a broken-down motorcycle that he got from Taiga. In chapter 11, he uses it to to tail the van in which her captors took Rin away from her house.
    • Monohoshizao, more precisely the Accumulated Experience stored in the ancient sword, becomes a key component in Guilford's defeat.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Shirou, as per canon. In some cases, it works out very well, such as getting Caster's Undying Loyalty. In other cases it gets him into a death match with Ciel over the fate of recently undead Satsuki.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Shirou, as usual. It starts with Sakura, then he gets Rin and then he gets Caster aka Medea. All due to his Chronic Hero Syndrome.
    • And now he's seemed to have charmed Satsuki.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Due to several circumstances, Dojima Ryutaro has to partially take up this role for The Archer. He's less than pleased with the arrangement. That's it, until he learns about the Holy Grail War and the stakes involved, after which he is determined to help Shirou to prevent casualties.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Just like Kayneth, Guilford mistakenly assumed that his opponent wasn't a magus because he Fights Like a Normal and he ended paying dearly for it.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Discussed by Dojima, just before quipping that he was about to do something that surely would get him killed in a horror movie.
    The plot was always the same, and the characters seemed to come from a universe where horror movies didn't exist because if they did, and they had watched at least one, they would have never walked in one of the many situations that led to a very painful and gory death.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • The only reason why Shirou was able to find Caster before the then Master-less Servant vanished from the world was because she decided to spend her last moments watching the sea, which happened to be in the proximity of the warehouse where he stored the items he... er... salvaged from Guilford's place. This nicely mirrors similar events from canon.
    • The narration takes a moment to point out how unlikely the chain of events that led Saber to become Rin's Servant actually was.
  • Crossover: Not the main focus of the fic, but Dojima and Adachi are important characters. Later on, characters from Tsukihime start taking big roles as well.
    • According to Word of God, the story takes place in the same 'verse as two other stories he's writing, involving Harry Potter and Kim Possible, albeit in different time periods for each.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Taiga is convinced that Shirou has to be the Archer even if she have no evidence to support her theory.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Even if Shirou's Spanner in the Works intervention was critical in Tohsaka's escape by providing an unavoidable distraction for her captors, in the end she pretty much broke herself and Yukiko out on her own.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 23 is told from the point of view of Rin and Saber.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: An In-Universe example. The creators of the Heaven's Feel ritual took into consideration a large number of eventualities with regard to future Holy Grail Wars, most notably including a surprisingly canny safeguard against Servants capable and willing to tamper with it: the Wards that protect the Grail system from such interferences are an active component of the same, meaning that they can't be taken down while it's still in full operation without causing a catastrophic failure that would destroy the Grail and level the whole city and beyond.
    • Subverted with the unlikely circumstances behind Saber's summoning, which was something akin to stumbling across a Good Bad Bug. To wit: Saber answered Shirou's calling as it happened in canon, but he formed a contract with a Master-less Servant (Caster) before he could do the same with Saber, which left the latter without an anchor to the real world until another Master (Rin) tried to summon a Servant.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The Cheungs ran into a couple problems in trying to kill Shirou and Medea, as well as retrieve Guilford's Crest. One of the things they couldn't predict however, is Dojima coming to visit the Emiya household Crazy-Prepared.
  • Did They Just Have Sex?: Played with. After two honor students, Tohsaka Rin and Emiya Shirou, arrived to school one morning with identical (but not directly related) sleep-deprived looks, there was a rumor going around that this was the case.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Sakura's narration the one time Shirou was careless enough to let her see him shirtless (with expected results).
  • Entertainingly Wrong: From the fact Archer was able to deal with some level of supernatural danger without too much trouble, Guilford correctly deduced Archer knew about magecraft beforehand, but he mistakenly assumed he wasn't a magus because he didn't resort to it in a life-or-death situation. From there his guesses went further off the mark by considering that Archer could be a retainer of the Second Owner of the land of Fuyuki (Tohsaka) because it'd be strange for someone like him to operate well within her territory without her permission and of course because Archer infiltrated his mansion just after Guilford kidnapped Rin.
  • Eureka Moment: Lord El-Melloi II was able to correctly guess Archer's real identity by remembering another unusual magecraft practitioner who used his skills for more practical applications than research: Kiritsugu.
    Waver: Could it possibly be so simple?
  • Evil Gloating: Guilford indulged himself with this trope at Tohsaka's expense. To his credit, he actually could afford the cliché considering how little chance the latter had to get out that mess without external assistance.
  • Expy: The story borrows a few characters and their overall characterization from Persona 4. Most notably Dojima, Adachi and Yukiko.
  • Famous Last Words: Guilford:
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: Servant Caster ran into some problems when trying to operate a computer. Shirou guessed that the Grail didn't provide information about them because they're a relatively recent invention.
  • Foreshadowing: In the How We Got Here prologue, Caster wasn't listed as one of the beings that Shirou didn't consider as his true opponent, while the likes of Gilgamesh, Kotomine, Zouken, and Hercules were. This would be the first hint that Shirou's relationship to Caster would be different than in canon.
  • For Want of a Nail: Running into Sakura years earlier than their canonical meeting makes Shirou realize his Chronic Hero Syndrome at a time where a post-Fate/Zero Kiritsugu is still there to guide him.
    • It has truly become an Alternate Universe with Shirou contracting Medea after she's attacked by the Chinese mercenaries, meaning she'll be his servant for the Grail War.
  • Groin Attack: Shinji was in the receiving end of this trope when he berated Shirou after the latter allegedly slept with Rin the night before (in Shinji's head, he's the one who is supposed to do that), confronting him in the middle of a school corridor. During lunch break. Where she can hear him. What an Idiot.
  • Gut Feeling: The story posits that Issei has an innate sensibility to magic that make him perceive a magus' presence, becoming suspicious of them without really know why. This would be the reason why he can't get along with Rin and why he instantly approved Saber in canon.
  • Head Desk: Dojima's reaction to finding out vampires exist and that they are aliens.
  • Heroic Build: A side effect of Shirou's training regime. He goes out of his way to keep it hidden with baggy clothes and whatnot because it isn't consistent with what would be expected of someone with his known lifestyle. Unaware to him though, Taiga considered it her sisterly duty to advertise her protégé's good shape (with actual pictures no less) due to his lack of female friends, so this is pretty much Everybody Knew Already as far as a good portion of the Homurahara Gakuen's female student body is concerned.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: What Guilford did to Yukiko. He was very close to do the same to Rin.
  • Idiots Cannot Catch Colds: Taiga was positively delighted the first time Shirou called sick because of a cold (actually just post-heroics exhaustion), citing this old wives' tale.
  • Improvised Weapon: Yumizuka Satsuki flails a street lamp at Ciel the Executor in chapter 25.
  • I Never Told You My Name:
    • One of the things that clued Rin about Archer true identity.
    • Invoked later on. This is how Shirou let Caster know that he knew her real identity since the first time he saw Rule Breaker.
  • The Informant: Nezumi for Archer.
  • Informed Ability: Averted. Unlike canon, Medea's Item Construction skill becomes a plot point in later chapters.
  • In Medias Res: The Action Prologue is chronologically set well within the Holy Grail War which, as of chapter 18, wasn't even properly started yet.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Even though one important event from canon's backstory didn't happen in Path of the King, namely the time when Sakura and Rin watched Shirou trying to perform a high jump during middle school (a.k.a. the BAR scene), both of them still became aware of him due to entirely different sets of circumstances. Sakura met Shirou not long after the end of the forth Holy Grail War and they became Childhood Friends, which arguably made her fall harder for him this time around. In Rin's case, he piqued her competitive streak after he managed to rank higher than her in school ratings in spite of him being an orphan, the captain of the archery club and holding a part-time job at the same time and the fact he's the best friend of her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis, Ryuudou Issei.
  • Instant Armor: Twisted Embrace, a Mystic Code crafted by Medea for Shirou.
  • Instant Costume Change: Realistically done considering the setting. Shirou manipulates black cloth with his prana and wraps it around his body to disguise himself as the Archer and then undo the process when he's done using it. In that way he doesn't have to worry about leaving an incriminating outfit for someone else to find. Upgraded to Instant Armor later on.
  • Instant Fan Club: "Tohsaka-hime" has one. Largely harmless but not a very nice bunch. They get awfully touchy after certain rumors about her and Shirou (see "Did They Just Have Sex?" above).
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Once Rin realized that the Holy Grail War was imminent, she made a point to put a distance between her and her friends, particularly Yukiko and Shirou.
  • Jack the Ripoff: In chapter 26 is revealed that someone (apparently a magus) is taking advantage of the "vampire" Serial Killer case in Misaki city to kill people for their blood.
  • Karmic Death: It's later revealed that Guilford died just like his former master did at his hands: killed by the man who later took his Crest from his corpse.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Shirou owns a nodachi in later chapters. It is the actual Monohoshizao which was owned by the real Kojiro Sasaki. Shirou managed to perform a degraded form of Tsubame Gaeshi due to his special ability with all things pointy, resulting in some serious Bad Ass.
  • Kick the Dog: Guilford is not above using a Command Seal to torture Caster.
    Guilford: Caster... SUFFER!
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Shirou, who made sure of taking everything he thought might be useful from Guilford's Workshop and mansion before burning the whole thing down. Including the magus's Crest from his dead body.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Believe it or not, Shirou and Servant Caster's relationship took shades of this after a while. Their main point of contention is, of course, Shirou's Chronic Hero Syndrome. For her part, Medea is not shy about giving him a piece of her mind about the heroically stupid things that he does. For his part, Shirou developed some (however small) measure of tact when telling her about the last/next stupidly heroic thing he did/plans to do, or at least he makes the effort to make them sound less, you know, suicidal.
  • Likes Older Women: Finding Caster in Shirou's house makes Taiga wonder if this is the case for him.
    [Taiga] never saw it coming, though it explained a great deal about her ward's character. For years she wondered if the redhead just wasn't into females but the scene in front of her eyes explained why he never seemed to take any interest in one of the many attractive girls that seemed to gravitate around him for a reason or another.
  • Malicious Slander: The students of Homurahara Gakuen have a tendency to come up with somewhat sordid explanations for things. For instance the "Did They Just Have Sex?" example above and when Yukiko went missing, some said she was dragged into a ring of drug and prostitution by her inexistent secret yakuza boyfriend.
  • Meat Puppet: Guilford's quimeras.
  • Metallicar Syndrome: Double Subversion. Rin's kidnappers used an inconspicuous cargo van when they abducted her from her house. However its presence still caught Shirou's attention because it wasn't the kind of vehicle expected from an upscale residential area like Rin's and it was too late at night for deliveries.
  • Metaphorically True: When asked by Taiga why she was at Shirou's, Caster told her her actual story from the myth, omitting a few details.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: One of the things that led Dojima to have an inkling of the real happenings in Fuyuki city was the simple question of why an obviously highly trained young man in his teens was focusing his vigilantist activities on a relatively peaceful city like theirs.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Issei for a short while in chapter 5:
  • Moving the Goalposts: Shirou used this to control his underground contact, putting him in increasingly dangerous situations. When this nearly led to his death, Shirou felt guilty and cut ties with the contact.
  • Multilayer Façade: From outer to inner layer, for Shirou's Secret Identities go like this: civilian persona/vigilante persona/magus persona (Chronic Hero Syndrome is a constant in all of them though). The distinction between the latter two is particularly relevant when dealing with Tohsaka. In his own words:
    There was something sleep-depriving in knowing that someone was aware of his double identity. Especially if said someone was the person you were trying hid your triple identity from.
    • It could be said that Shirou has a fourth layer (between his vigilante and magus personae) for detective Dojima, who knows that the whole crime-busting business is not the whole story. This is a moot point later on (see Broken Masquerade above).
  • Mundane Utility:
    • What made Tohsaka notice Shirou in this continuity? He got higher grades than she did in the exams. How did he do that? He used magic to reinforce his brain, allowing him to multitask with the low, low cost of a Psychic Nosebleed inducing headache.
    • Shirou also discovered that he can also access the Accumulated Experience of things similar to swords like knives or scalpels, the latter case granting him with the proficiency of an experienced surgeon. He wished it didn't for that particular instance, though.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Yukiko's disappearance would've been mistaken for a runaway case until too late if it weren't for the efforts of her best friend and a few other people who barely knew her. Sounds familiar?
    • Shirou commented that "he didn't dare to think what a magically reinforced Kuzuki could be capable of"(explaining the joke) 
    • An unconscious Caster was saved from vanishing from the world by the man who later would become her second Master.
    • One day Medea decided to turn Shirou's Workshop from a few-square-meters room into a vast underground space. This could be a nod to the time when she built a replica of an entire Greek city under the Ryuudou Temple in the anime.
    • As a rarely seen in F/SN Fan Fiction, Rin finally summons a Saber-class Servant from the beginning and, just like Nasu said, they make an awfully good team together.
  • New Transfer Student: Saber in chapter 23, now know as Ginevra A. Dulac. She immediately objects Rin's choice for her Secret Identity though(explaining the joke) .
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • To keep his fighting prowess hidden and protect his Secret Identity, Shirou is cautious of always take a beating if he found himself in a fight undisguised (read: jumps in to protect someone).
    • Taiga is this as well, picking up clues on the nature of Shirou's injuries in Chapter 20 from scare hints and, as Shirou explained, she only puts on an act when it's not serious.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: If Taiga goes without breakfast one day after declaring "I'm not hungry", you know it's serious. This is from the time when Shirou's injuries make her decide to try to put a stop to his nighttime activities for the sake of his well-being.
  • Oh My Gods!: Caster sometimes swears "in the name of Hades".
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Vampire!Satsuki.
  • Police Are Useless: Newcomer detective Dojima stands out like a sore thumb in Fuyuki police department who, in his opinion, are too used to live in a low crime-rate city. We know better.
    • Somewhat justified, as there is a whole apparatus put in place by several organizations to keep any event related to the Holy Grail War under wraps.
  • The Power of Blood: Guilford's Rule of Blood.
  • Prisoner Exchange: This occurred with Waver and Medea. In return for letting Jin and Jun go, Dojima was not killed by Waver.
  • Roofhopping: Shirou's preferred mode of transportation in his vigilante persona.
  • Running Gag:
    • Dojima gets more displeased and snarky the more he learns about the supernatural. The following gem of a line was uttered after Volumen Hydragyrum basically swallow him whole and spat him out:
      Dojima: Fucking alien probes, I'm too old for this shit.
    • Shirou's "being a Hero sure was tough!"
    • Every time a girl makes a background check on Shirou, they come across with the candid pictures that Taiga took of him.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Chapter 4:
    Nezumi: How would you know if and when I find something? Hey, for that matter how do you know where to find me every fucking time?
    Archer: Magic.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Shirou's informant after he was almost killed for getting intel on Yukiko's disappearance.
  • Sexy Mentor: If Shirou can't help but acknowledge it, then Medea is definitely this.
    Yep, she had the whole 'Evil Witch' thing down pat. Attractive as hell, mind you, but evil. That was the first time Shirou asked himself if he was perhaps in way over his head. It was one thing to fight a Heroic Spirit but surviving an attractive female one as his self-proclaimed teacher in Magecraft?
    Yeah: way over his head.
  • Share the Male Pain: Lampshaded even:
    Shirou winced in sympathy. Not that Shinji deserved any for what he had insinuated, but there is a basic camaraderie among men when it comes to genital injuries.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spit Take: Waver spat his drink in Jun's face after seeing the Archer on TV carrying a nodachi. Spoiler-y explanation: Evidence of usage of a long blade was pretty much the only clue Waver had on the people behind Guilford's demise.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Guess who?
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Horribly invoked with Yukiko via Rule of Blood (see Hypnotize The Princess).
  • Stomach of Holding: In the eventually that all her prana-charged jewels are taken away from her, Tohsaka kept four of them in her person with this method.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Archer's Weapon of Choice (hence the name). It's also a way for Shirou to use magecraft in an inconspicuous manner.
    • Trick Arrow: Shirou can modify his arrows on the spot with Reinforcement and Alteration for different purposes. As a Technical Pacifist, he usually crafts them with a metal ball instead of pointed head to use them as an incapacitating blunt weapon.
      • He can add runes through Alteration for things such as making a flaming arrow as well.
  • The Stoic: Kuzuki. He learns about Shirou being a Magus, Archer, and the Holy Grail War, and best he could do was say it was troublesome with no expression at all.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Except for his partner Adachi, detective Dojima is not too popular among his peers because of this trope. This being Adachi, it's not saying much.
  • This Is Unforgivable: Guilford has a knack to cross the Moral Event Horizon in other people's eyes: The fact that he made quimeras out of people made a lot easier for Shirou to lose any compunction about killing the guy, the way how Guilford used his Rule of Blood to twist a woman's mind reminded Medea of how her life was throughly destroyed by such magical manipulations and one can only wonder what Rin would've done with him for everything he made Yukiko and herself go through.
  • Throw Away Guns: Dojima during his fight against Jun Cheung. Kind of justified against an opponent that moves fast enough to dodge bullets.
  • Tsundere: Rin Tohsaka, of course. She appreciates Shirou's company only because he's a welcome deviation from their male classmates' behaviour, she would assure you (and herself).
  • Unfortunate Names: The name Nezumi is homophonous with the word "rat" in Japanese. At least one character makes fun of him because of it.
  • Verbal Backspace: From chapter 13:
    [Caster] had lived an accursed existence, one that she wouldn't wish upon... well, she actually did wish her life on a number of people, but that was beside the point.
  • Vigilante Man: Shirou as Archer. It takes quite a lot to pull it off effectively though.
  • Vocal Dissonance: As Archer, Shirou speaks in an age-dissonant adult voice. Word of God says he uses Reinforcement on his own vocal cords to perfectly imitate the only older male voice he knows well, Kiritsugu's.
  • Watch Out For That Electric Pole: Happens to Rin once while trying to avoid making a fool of herself. Yeah...
  • Wham Line:
    • Shirou didn't take the implications of the following very well:
      You might refer to me as Caster, if you must.
    • A role-reversal happens in chapter 16:
      Shirou: Pleasant dreams... Medea.
  • What Could Have Been: Word of God mentioned that there was a plan for a short Crossover Story Arc where Shirou goes to Roanapur to rescue Yukiko after her captors sold her.
  • What Measureis A Non Human: What sparked the battle in chapter 25. Shirou refused to kill Satsuki once he realized she retained human sensibilities and self-awareness by impossibly skipping the Ghoul/Living Dead phase and becoming a full-blown vampire in a matter of minutes, leaving him with a someone who needs human blood to survive but has yet to hurt a person because of it. On the other hand, Ciel chose to exterminate Satsuki because an anomaly like her has an enormous potential to become a powerful Dead Apostle if given the time.
  • You Just Told Me:
    Rin: "Good night and thank you, Emiya-kun."
    Archer: "Anytime, Tohsaka-san. Anytime."
    • Shirou used this trick with Tohno Akiha to corroborate that her father was killed as he suspected. He even politely apologizes after the fact, though.
  • You Talk Too Much: Said verbatim to the Professional Killer from Chapter 7, just before Archer punched him in the face.

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