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Naofumi Iwatani was summoned to Melromarc as the Shield Hero. Everything looked great... until he overheard Itsuki and Motoyasu talking about parties sharing experience from kills outside his inn room. He then finds out some stuff from his help guide that Malty hadn't told him about.

Hope of the Shield Hero (renamed Diligence of the Shield Hero) is a The Rising of the Shield Hero fanfic written by Allen Blaster, and can be read on Fanfiction Dot Net here.

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Hope of the Shield Hero provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: There are a lot of these.
    • In canon, Raphtalia and Filo behave like sisters, often bickering for the attention of their father/mutual-crush Naofumi. Here it's framed more like a mother-daughter relationship. Raphtalia even encourages Filo to identify her as "mommy" and Naofumi as "daddy."
    • In canon, Naofumi is hated by his fellow heroes thanks to his false rape accusation, while he has disdain for them for their recklessness and treating the world like a fantasy. Here, Naofumi, Itsuki, and Ren have stronger respect towards each other, with Ren and Itsuki knowing that Naofumi never raped Mein/Malty and even offering advice to him on upgrading his shield and reaching the Waves.
    • The four heroes are better at working together than their canon-selves.
    • Ren's relationship with Eclair starts off better since he is more willing to learn from her. It appears she isn't his Love Interest, as he is with Wyndia here.
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    • Thanks to Itsuki being more heroic than in canon, he treats Rishia much better than in canon and she doesn't suffer from a Broken Pedestal.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The Shield, Bow and Sword heroes all have elements of this added to their backstory. Naofumi's heart was shattered back in school, which is why he has a harder time trusting people even before Malty's betrayal. The Bow hero had a friend who was bullied to suicide, which is why he can't stand bullies making people suffer. And the sword hero knew someone who was almost raped, which is why he instantly starts seeing red flags when Malty jumps into the Spear Hero's bed after accusing Naofumi of raping her.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The canon-counterparts of Ren, Itsuki, and Motoyasu are all Idiot Heroes at best, The Poorly Chosen One at worst and only ever make things worse in their attempts at a short-sighted chance at living out a hero fantasy. While Motoyasu is mostly unchanged, both Ren and Itsuki are far less gullible, far less of a dick to Naofumi and each have a Break the Haughty moment that makes them more worthy of their titles. Ren is tricked into killing an innocent dragon by men who want to enslave its adoptive daughter, Wyndia. He takes it upon himself to look after her, while Itsuki starts a campaign against the Melromarc nobility's practice of slavery and cruelty to demi-humans, upgrading to the role of Unscrupulous Anti-Hero when he sees just how bad it really is when a noble kills a demi-human child.
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  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Naofumi unlocks the Raccoon Shield earlier than in canon.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: In canon (which includes the light novel, manga, and anime), the other three Heroes are all complete idiots and more of a detriment to the people than they are saviors, willing to believe anything that anybody tells them without proof and usually assume the worst of Naofumi. Here, Ren and Itsuki are not so gullible, even trying to help Naofumi avoid being captured by the church when they overhear what the knights intend to do. They also don't buy into Malty's False Rape Accusation, Ren having known a real victim of sexual assault in his old life and seeing right through her.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Ren and Itsuki to a lesser extent are a lot nicer and more trusting towards Naofumi. Ren ends up giving Naofumi several tips he had previously and becomes an ally of sorts.
    • When they meet later, Itsuki openly acknowledges that Naofumi is not only doing a good job as a Hero, he may actually be doing a lot more than himself and the others.
    • During the fight with the Pope in Chapter Fifty-One, Naofumi tells Motoyasu he doesn't want an apology. He wants his help to defeat the Pope. Motoyasu finally sees Naofumi "isn't so bad" like he'd thought.
  • Alternate Universe: The Heroes quickly determine that while they all came from Japan they all originate from Japans in different universes. Their currency is slightly different, they have different politicians, and the world they happen to be summoned to is, to them, from very different games. In Naofumi's case it wasn't a game at all, but a book.
  • The Anti-Christ: The Church of Three Heroes believes that while the Sword, Spear and Bow Heroes are deities in human form, the Shield Hero is a devil sent to deceive the people.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Motoyasu asks why the people of Lute are rebelling, Albert's What the Hell, Hero? has such an impact that thinking it over makes Motoyasu reach the Despair Event Horizon, unlocking his Curse Series.
  • Beast Man: Various types appear, from typical reptile and werewolf races to the less standard mole race.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Just when Naofumi falls into a Heroic BSOD after using his Cursed Flames on Raphtalia while in an Unstoppable Rage moment, with only Filo, Eclair, and Melty able to protect him, Itsuki, Ren, and their parties crash the party right on time to save them from the Church's Knights and get them all away to a safe place.
    • Queen Mirelia arrives at Melromarc just in time to save Melty from a Church knight.
    • The Pope's minions manage to cast the Sanctuary ritual, making the Pope even stronger just when Naofumi and Motoyasu are starting to run out of power, starting to push Naofumi towards the Despair Event Horizon while he's using the Shield of Hope II... only for Itsuki and Ren to arrive just in time to distract the Pope and restore Naofumi's hope long enough to allow him to change his shield and begin the push back.
    • When Raphtalia gets cornered by Altara, Dou-Lon, the Hakuko arrives to aid her.
    • When the Spirit Tortoise is about to stomp them and the other Heroes have tried their best to hurt it, Naofumi brings out the Shield of Hope II and the Shield of Rage II (the latter via a skill), and not only stops the Tortoise's attack, but saves the lives of his fellow heroes in the process.
  • Brick Joke: Remember how Naofumi noted that he had to find someone that could give Raphtalia The Talk? Chapter 39, "He Forgot The Talk", has him realizing (after he and Raphtalia snogged for a while) that he forgot that, and now he might be forced to do it himself.
    • Naofumi thinks she's had the talk. Unfortunately, Raphtalia still hasn't had "The Talk" at Chapter Sixty. Which might set up for a return of the infamous Brick Joke down the road.
      • In Chapter 76, Raphtalia finally gets given "The Talk" by Therese, who makes a mental note to slap Naofumi for forgetting about it.
  • Character Development: Most of the Heroes undergo this.
    • Naofumi slowly becomes nicer and more capable of interacting with others, thanks to Raphtalia.
    • Both the Bow Hero and Sword Hero realize that where they are is not a video game and that there are real people with real consequences for their actions. Motoyasu eventually realizes it isn't a game too.
      • Itsuki goes from having an Inferiority Superiority Complex to acting like an actual Robin Hood by fighting for Slave Liberation and stopping Melromarc's worst nobles. He also relies on his party, better relates with them all, and even does his best to encourage Rishia; doing his best to overcome his flaws and become a real hero.
      • Ren begins to lose his Ineffectual Loner attitude as he realizes he needs other people if he is to survive and aid in stopping the Waves of Catastrophe. Unfortunately, after the fight to get Naofumi out of Melromarc, he begins to backtrack: as he gets stronger and cares more for his party, he's developing a fear of losing them in a fight, so when he knows they are going to face strong enemies, he tries to keep them busy with other matters.
  • The Chosen One: The Four Legendary Heroes, who are summoned from different worlds to fight the Waves. Their Legendary Weapons grant them abilities and skills that allow them to surpass the abilities of an ordinary person, as well as unique functions like alerts about the Waves and automatic language translation. The four are also connected to each other, since if even a single Legendary Hero is killed, the Waves will grow stronger. Furthermore, another set of Legendary Heroes cannot be summoned until the rest of the current set has been killed.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Hope Asunder, the Armor-Piercing Attack Naofumi first used during the duel against Motoyasu, makes a return during his duel against Malty to destroy her armor, leaving her wide open for him to destroy in a fight. It is called such during the battle against Balamus.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The legendary weapons must always remain on the hero's person, though their size, appearance, and location can be adjusted to render them inconspicuous.
  • Clark Kenting: During the Chapter 42 omake, Naofumi, Ren, Itsuki, and their parties manage to infiltrate Rabier... while wearing glasses. Ren and Itsuki become convinced that the Church Knights are completely stupid. The only one that even comes close to sound suspicious of them confounds Itsuki for his cousin.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: The author, not being keen on writing expletives, replaces the words with either asterisks or symbols - which creates this effect whenever Naofumi gets going.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Motoyasu wears red and has an affinity for fire, Ren wears blue and has an affinity for water and Itsuki wears brown and has an affinity for earth magic.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The four Cardinal Heroes are designated by the colors of their armor, the gemstones on their Legendary Weapons, and even their eye colors. Ren is blue, Motoyasu is red, Itsuki is gold, and Naofumi is green.
  • Combination Attack: Skills and magic can be combined to make more powerful attacks.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Naofumi and Raphtalia stop by a town whose Lord is the real father of one of Raphtalia's old friends.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: The Order of the Spear Breakers is forced to flee from Lute because they launched a rebellion against Malty and the Spear Hero right before the original Lord of the Town comes back and tells the occupiers that they are to leave immediately. If they had waited just a little longer, they could have stayed in their homes. The Lord even grouses about this fact.
  • Crapsack World: High-level monsters appear and kill indiscriminately until they are stopped by deadly force? Check. There is a giant magical hourglass showing when it will happen, each and every time? Check. Humans Are Bastards? Check. One of the most honest and upright merchants in the setting is a slave trader? Check
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Naofumi comes up with a plan to infiltrate Melromarc that is, by his own description, crazy. Itsuki and Ren tell him that they could use a crazy plan to deal with the current situation.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The fight against Glass. Naofumi uses the Soul Eater Shield's power to drain her and blocks her attacks, he buffs up Ren while Itsuki debuffs Glass, and Ren unleashes his latest skill, One Thousand Swords, to defeat Glass.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Ren tries to comfort Itsuki (who is in a My God, What Have I Done? phase) by telling him that at least he's not as bad as Motoyasu. Itsuki points out that he's not very good at comforting others.
    • Itsuki tries to make a joke later on as Melromarc and Siltvelt are about to go to war. The results make him realize that maybe he isn't the best at counseling others either.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • The Cursed Series is this. They greatly empower the user, but at the risk of pushing them into a reflection of their worst selves. Naofumi's Shield of Wrath makes him capable of heavily damaging his enemies... at the cost of making him unable to distinguish friend from foe. And Itsuki's Bow of Pride turns him into a Control Freak with brainwashing powers that, similar to Naofumi, puts him in danger of harming his allies. And then there's Ren's Sword of Gluttony, which grants him obscene amounts of attack power, making him capable of even wiping out the Spirit Tortoise with basically zero effort... but it also makes him go on an indiscriminate rampage, attacking anything and everything nearby, seeking EXP.
    • The Blessed Series run on the Heroes' positive feelings (such as Hope), but in their great strength lies their great weakness: if the Hero is unable to sustain such feelings, they run the risk of falling even worse into the problems the Cursed Series would cause.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: As noted by Therese, a fair number of the women in the heroes' parties have a connection to slavery.
  • Deader Than Dead: Balamus has his soul eaten by a Soul Worm, shredding it from existence. Motoyasu even drops the trope name when describing what's about to happen.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Realizing that they are toast if they do not do it, Itsuki, Naofumi, and Ren throw everything they have at the T-Rex in one last attack that leaves them completely exhausted. Fortunately for them, it works.
  • De-Power: The Hourglass of the Dragon's Era can be used to reset a person's level to 1.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Bakta and Welt make a Heroic Sacrifice to save Ren from the Spirit Tortoise, Ren hits this so hard he not only triggers his Cursed Series, he also unlocks the third Sword of Hunger, the Sword of Gluttony.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Naofumi becomes pleasantly surprised when he manages to have a full conversation with Itsuki without any accusations or insults being thrown around - and with both complimenting each other for everything they have been doing since the last Wave.
    • The Shield, Sword, and Bow heroes are all surprised when they find out that there are strengthening features to their weapons that they never figured out - but by sharing their own methods of strengthening them, each of them now knows how to do them, becoming stronger.
  • Empathic Healer: Ray of Hope, one of Shield of Hope II's abilities, allows Naofumi to heal people of their curses by taking their pain into himself and giving himself a temporary debuff.
  • Enemy Mine: Naofumi manages to convince Siltvelt's army to work with Melromarc's and the Four Heroes in defeating Melromarc's Third Wave.
  • Engineered Public Confession:
    • Naofumi punches Bitch's Berserk Button like it was giving free candy to trick her into doing one in front of Motoyasu. In his own words, it worked better than he could have ever imagined. Possibly one of the best moments involving Bitch, as she finally did something useful.
    • Motoyasu unintentionally does this to the Pope during the last part of the Liberation of Melromarc after his awakening. Had the Pope just kept his mouth shut and didn't do a Villain Monologue, he would have used Cathedral's power to kill the Four Heroes and everyone else in the castle. But because he confessed his true thoughts in regards to Altara, the latter had a Heel–Face Turn moment in regards to his evil Excellency and ultimately brought about his downfall.
  • Epic Fail: After they arrive at Cal Mira, Itsuki, Naofumi and Ren go to different parts of the first island, picking west, north, and east. Itsuki and Naofumi end up meeting mid-point in the northwest... and Ren ends up meeting them in the same place.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Itsuki and Ren intervene in the aftermath of the duel, disgusted by the way the King and Malty are acting towards Naofumi, outright telling the King that either he abides by the deal and lets Naofumi go (since he clearly won the duel and the King only declared otherwise on a whim), or they will refuse to aid Melromarc in the future Waves of Catastrophe.
    • One noble's nephew sells him out to Itsuki because of the man's cruelty. He promises to do his best to find someone for the King to appoint that will actually be decent to other people.
  • Evil Counterpart: Ren, Motoyasu, and Itsuki have one when the Pope of the Church of the Three Heroes uses a weapon that allows him to mimic their Legendary Weapons. Naofumi would have had a similar counterpart but the Church views the Shield as a devil and so the Pope did not use it.
  • Evil Weapon: The Curse Weapon Series is still this.
  • Evolving Weapon: The Legendary Weapons. Letting the gem of the weapons absorb materials from monsters and other objects unlocks weapon forms based on those materials, granting new skills and stats.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: The For Want of a Nail. When Naofumi overhears Itsuki and Motoyasu speak about game mechanics he didn't know about (parties sharing EXP). In trying to find answers, he looks for Malty and discovers her plans.
    • This seems to be a weakness for villains - they can't resist telling someone about their evil plans without making sure no one is listening. Eclair, for example, gets dragged into the plot the same way when she overhears the Church's plans to discredit the Shield Hero.
  • Fantastic Racism: Not only between humans and demi-humans but also amongst demi-humans.
    • A primary motivator for the racism against demi-humans in Melromarc (besides the Church) is the war with Siltvelt: its brutality, which spread for the eight years it lasted, made the nobles that worked as Aultcray's commanders gain a greater hatred for demi-humans than they might have had before.
    • When several Siltvelt agents attempt to find Naofumi to kidnap him and take him to their country, Naofumi overhears them planning to kill Raphtalia on the basis of her being a Tanuki.
    • The Raccoons do not have it so good, either, because when Siltvelt lost the war, their Grand Council turned them into scapegoats by claiming they used illusion magic to convince Claw King Tai-Lon to 'try and conquer the world'.
    • The Hakukos might also not be as favored as they appear in Siltvelt, since those that tried to speak out against the scapegoating were exiled along with all the Noble Raccoon families.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Just as Melromarc and Siltvelt's armies are going to battle, the Four Heroes vanish to meet the Third Wave... only for them to reappear in the no man's land between both armies. Cue the Third Wave opening right on top of the battlefield.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Part of the reason why Naofumi and Raphtalia fall in love with each other is because of his taking care of her.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: Malty forces Rino to fight monsters so she can get strongers without doing anything.
  • For Want of a Nail: Naofumi overhears Malty plotting to frame him with a False Rape Accusation instead of Naofumi being forced to the castle to be charged with the crime.
    • Naofumi goes to Elhart for help and explains to him what Malty is planning to do, so Elhart never suspects him of the rape.
    • Because he ran from the capital before Malty could have him arrested, he is only seen as more guilty and declared a fugitive by the King, who intends to have him thrown in the dungeons and only let out to fight the Waves. Naofumi attends the celebration after the first Wave only because he was invited by some of the Royal Knights with a guarantee that he would not be arrested. During the party, he thoroughly enjoyed making the King angry with his unarrestable presence.
    • Naofumi actually wins the duel against Motoyasu, forcing him to surrender and accept defeat. The only reason he's declared the loser is because Bitch throws a tantrum and states (with no proof whatsoever) that Raphtalia used magic (after Bitch herself blatantly used magic on Naofumi).
    • Queen Mirelia is already aware of the Pope's intentions to overthrow the royal family.
    • Itsuki decides to put his efforts into helping demi-humans and weed out corrupt nobles against them. Raphtalia suggests that he go to Van Reichnott as a potential ally.
    • Naofumi learns about the Weapon Copy system from Ren after his duel with Motoyasu and not after the Pope is defeated.
    • He is also made aware of Raphtalia's not-so-platonic feelings for him after she brings him out of the Cursed Series before he unlocked the Shield of Rage.
    • Without Naofumi there to counter Motoyasu and challenge him over the latter's takeover of Lute, the townspeople are soon driven into outright rebellion due to his abysmal rulership. Eventually, the town's former adventurers form a group called the Order of the Spear Breakers, and rise up in arms against Motoyasu and Myne's knights, fighting until their former Lord is restored to his position. The Lord then proceeds to expel Motoyasu, his party, and the knights. The Spear Breakers disappear shortly thereafter in order to avoid the trouble their rebellion could cause to them and their town. They have as of yet to reappear.
    • Motoyasu and Itsuki trigger their Cursed Series a lot earlier than they did in the light novel: the former after pondering over the Armor-Piercing Response shown above and the latter when he is unable to save a young slave girl from being murdered.
    • Ren still kills Gaelion, but this time he learns both that he was duped and that Gaelion had an adopted child (Wyndia) who was the real target of the man who hired him. To atone for his mistake, Ren fights them off and takes Wyndia in as a party member. He also gives Gaelion a proper burial and properly disposes of the corpse, thus clearing the issue of a Hate-Filled Necrodragon terrorizing the town below. He does, however, have Gaelion's Dragon Emperor Fragment resting in his sword. it's possible during this event, he unlocked his Cursed Series. Yet, similar to Naofumi after the duel, it has as of yet to reveal what sin it is tied to.
    • Instead of Naofumi, the one that ends up going after the plant monster Motoyasu unwittingly unleashed is Ren.
    • Because Itsuki decided to liberate the slaves held by the Melromarc nobles instead of going after corrupt governments, and did it by killing a majority of the slave-owning nobles, not only is he deemed a false hero by the Church, making him the priority target over Naofumi, but now he's also wanted by the Kingdom of Melromarc for obvious reasons.
    • Naofumi is captured by Motoyasu and brought to the Castle for trial. This means that the Pope Arc happens a lot sooner, and the Queen is forced to return to Melromarc before she can finish dealing with the other countries.
    • Since Naofumi doesn't have the Dragon's Heart accessory (Gaelion's Dragon Emperor Fragment taken from the Necrodragon) with his Berserker Armor, he won't have access to the Eternal Torment Blutopher Shield Spell used to kill off the High Pope in Canon.
    • Malty's assassination attempt on Melty happens while she's visiting Naofumi in the castle's dungeon, intending to kill Naofumi as well while pinning the blame on him.
    • Eclair is introduced much earlier in the series than in canon as Naofumi's cellmate when he first wakes up in the Castle Dungeons.
    • In the light novels, Motoyasu's Cursed Weapon was the Spear of Lust/Envy. Here, it's been changed to the Spear of Jealousy.
    • Naofumi challenges Bitch to a duel once he saves Melty's life. He almost wins, but due to Malty/Myne/Bitch promising to torture Raphtalia and Filo to death once he's dead, Naofumi ends up using his Cursed Series to utterly destroy Myne, and his rampage ends up decimating the entire town area he fought in. Raphtalia suffers cursed burns from trying to snap Naofumi out of his Rage-induced rampage, almost dying in the process.
    • The Church of the Three Heroes brings down their Judgement spell on top of Naofumi, Ren, Itsuki, and their parties... while they are in the city of Melromarc. They take advantage of the chaos to start their coup a lot sooner than expected, forcing the Queen to divert her attention from the war with Siltvelt in order to put down the coup.
    • The Church sends an army to support Idol Rabier's attack on Van Reichnott's lands.
    • When Raphtalia was taken away from Rabier, it was a mysterious lady who healed Rifana and told Raphtalia that she had an important role to play.
    • Instead of just the thousands of followers constantly supplying mana to Balamus like in the Anime, the Replica Weapon itself is also powered by centuries worth of past church followers storing their mana inside it like in the Light Novel. The author invokes Rule of Cool, with the overflow of mana from all the followers makes fighting Balamus much more dangerous than ever in either canon media. In addition, the Sanctuary/Cathedral Spell not only cancels out the effects of curses from Tier II and lower Curse Series Weapon forms, but it also cancels out many of the effects of Tier II Blessed Series Weapon forms. Somehow, Naofumi overcomes the barrier with "Pandora's Box", like in canon with the Shield of Wrath and Blood Sacrifice.
    • Siltvelt decides to declare war on Melromarc, attempting to take advantage of their weakened situation due to the Pope's coup.
    • The Ghost Ship Wave begins right on top of Melromarc's and Siltvelt's armies just as the battle is about to begin.
    • Balamus is executed, physically and spiritually, by being burned at a stake, and having his soul eaten by a soul worm.
    • Because issues are resolved far sooner after the Ghost Ship Wave, Naofumi and co still have several weeks before Cal Mira to do things.
    • Since Motoyasu is the only one struggling to contribute to the Waves, he is currently the only hero training under Granny.
    • Because Malty escapes before Mirelia can make her confess her crimes, the rumors of Naofumi being a rapist are still around and L'Arc brings these up in conversation with him.
    • Due to the events that happen at Cal Mira, L'Arc and Therese don't end up fighting Naofumi or the other Heroes in the end, and Glass is put on the end of one hell of a Curb-Stomp Battle after she arrives.
    • After watching Glass, L'Arc, and Therese give up and go back to their world, the Heroes decide after Cal Mira to search for an answer that'd allow the three to save their world.
    • Instead of Leruno (the village of the seed in canon), the minions of the Spirit Tortoise attack Lurolona as, thanks to Motoyasu and Ren, Leruno's population is not as great as Lurolona's by the time they attack. The fact that Lurolona also had more people visiting because of a wedding didn't help matters either.
    • Motoyasu is the only Hero that charges after the Spirit Tortoise in the beginning instead of everyone besides Naofumi.
    • In their very first battle, Naofumi, Itsuki, and Ren are soundly defeated by the Spirit Tortoise and almost killed.
  • The Fundamentalist: Almost every instance of Naofumi meeting a member of the Three Heroes Church has resulted in him either being termed the Shield Demon, the Three Church followers running away in terror, attacking him, or a mixture of all three. On the flip side, the first instance he had with Siltvelt was being termed their God, but that his current party companions, especially Raphtalia, were unworthy to travel with him. Later instances strengthened that in several regards, especially when Jaralis called Raphtalia a Raccoon/Tanuki whore.
    • The exception to this are a few members of Lute village, who term him the Shield Demon... right up until Naofumi and his party save the village from the Wave, after which they start treating him with more respect, going as far as to call him a "Real Hero".
  • Godzilla Threshold: When Ren unlocks the Sword of Gluttony, it takes Fitoria using one of her most powerful skills to stop the Curse, although the consequences of using it do not seem to be good.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: The coins are 100 copper to 1 silver, and 100 silver to a gold from what has been said about the economy of the light novel. Also, Naofumi pointed out a silver could pay a day's worth of food and lodging, so 50 silvers to go in and out of a village was too much for the villagers to pay Malty and Motoyasu. That meant to leave and come back inside the village would cost 3 month's worth of living expenses.
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: Inverted. Queen Mirelia is a Reasonable Authority Figure in stark contrast to the sociopathic Princess Malty
  • Good Weapon, Evil Weapon: While the Cursed Series weapons still exist, here there is the addition of the Blessed Series, Shield of Hope (not to be mistaken with the Shield of Compassion from canon). It is a series of weapon forms Naofumi unlocks when Raphtalia declares her complete trust and love in him even after her slave crest is removed. It gets upgraded by exploring his feelings of hope and love that Raphtalia gives him.
  • Groin Attack: When their caravan is stopped by a group of bandits, Naofumi tells Raphtalia she can cut them down, specifically requesting her to go for the groin. Raphtalia doesn't understand why - until she does. Then, after the bandits fess up on why they attacked, Naofumi tells Filo to kick them as well, an attack she later gives to Motoyasu when he attacks them in chapter 29.
    • In chapter 34, Filo starts to deliver them wholesale to the knights trying to kill Naofumi, so much that Naofumi wonders if he should teach her to attack other parts of the body. Hopefully, fighting with Fitoria solved this issue.
    • It doesn't, as shown in chapter 52, where she hits a Church knight hard enough to "end his family lineage".
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Discussed. Itsuki offers to temporarily add Naofumi and Raphtalia to his party as Naofumi hadn't had a chance to register the Dragon Hourglass yet. Naofumi turns him down, instead opting to break into the Church of the Three Heroes and force his way to the Hourglass with seconds to spare before the Wave started.
  • Hammerspace: The Legendary Weapons have this feature, which collects materials from all the monsters they kill - which Naofumi does not learn until the meeting with Itsuki and Ren after they escaped from Melromarc. Fortunately, all the meat from the monster corpses that made their way into his Shield remains good even months after the fact - which at least helps him cook the feast he promised to throw for Filo. Between feeding her and using Itsuki's strengthening methods, he ends up almost running out of carcasses.
    • This also leads to a funny moment of Naofumi realizing how many potential drops Filo could have eaten before he learned about the inventory box since Filo was well known for devouring almost every monster she killed.
  • He Knows Too Much: When Ren and his party learn from the Church of Three Heroes archives about the truth of the demi-humans and the Shield Hero, the Pope tries to have them killed.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Dou-Lon, while recovering from his wounds, finds that the old lady who is caring for him used to be married to a half-Orca Demi-human. She's four-foot-nine, and the smaller examples of Orca demi-humans are around seven feet tall.
  • Hufflepuff House: While the author did an outstanding job with the Sword and Bow Hero's parties, giving them names, personalities, and development, taking them out of this trope, sadly the trope still applies to the Spear Hero's party. Averted somewhat in more recent chapters that show off more of the party.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Wyndia tries to do this when Ren unlocks his Cursed Series, but he's gone so far that he can barely beg to be killed for a few seconds before the Curse reasserts itself.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Averted when it comes to Itsuki. After he seems to accept that he's not in a game, he goes back to it... except that when Ren confronts him on it, Itsuki breaks down and reveals that he knows it's not a game, but he's trying to hold on to that delusion because he is feeling crushed due to the knowledge of all the people he's killed or failed to save and the wanton cruelty he's seen.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: The lord of Lute allowing the members of the town's rebellion to escape after attacking Myne, Motoyasu, and the knights that served them, which is still treason no matter how poorly they had treated the town and villagers.
    Lord of Lute: "There's nothing I can do, except turn away and pretend I didn't see all of Melromarc's traitors escape my town with some of the funds from the toll."
  • Insane Troll Logic: Expect believers in the Three Heroes Church and Motoyasu to engage in this regularly, making contradictory statements mere sentences apart and ignoring all signs to the contrary that they *might* be in the wrong.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Naofumi still winds up buying Raphtalia out of necessity.
    • Though his False Rape Accusation doesn't go the same way as in canon, Naofumi still suffers severe psychological trauma that leaves him unable to taste food or see Raphtalia for her actual physical age till after the Sacred Duel. This is because of Naofumi's 'depressive funk' after learning Malty planned to betray him.
    • Despite Naofumi being able to defeat Motoyasu in their duel for Raphtalia's freedom, he's still declared the loser when Bitch accuses Raphtalia of using magic to cheat, and her slave crest is still forcibly removed.
    • Naofumi still ends up taking Melty with him to keep the little Princess safe, and thus is framed for kidnapping the young Princess.
    • Rabier manages to set the T-Rex on the Heroes despite his almost mortal injuries, and gets crushed by the monster.
    • Itsuki still encounters the Noble he killed in canon but does better than before.
    • Naofumi eventually encounters the cursed seed and used Plant Reform on it.
    • Welt and Bakta are still killed by the Spirit Tortoise and their deaths contribute to Ren unlocking the Gluttony Cursed Series.
    • While the circumstances are different, Kyo still uses Ren and Motoyasu to power the Spirit Tortoise.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Inverted. A Church Shadow surrenders to Motoyasu, thinking he's made the foolish Spear Hero drop his guard. However, as he turns to launch a Drifa level spell, Motoyasu pulls a Reverse UNO and uses a skill to completely obliterate the foolish man.
  • Instant Soprano: Following Filo's kick to Motoyasu's groin, Naofumi can't help but notice how the Spear Hero's voice has gone up a few octaves for the rest of the fight.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Ren walks in on Naofumi and Raphtalia as they heavily kiss each other after Naofumi tells her he loves her.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: When Jaralis keeps trying to turn his army on Melromarc after Melromarc's Third Wave opens up right above the battlefield, Naofumi paralyzes him mid-battle and calls him out for being a murderer. A completely baseless accusation that actually makes things easier for him after the battle.
  • Killed Off for Real: Bakta and Welt are killed by the Tortoise, their bodies so thoroughly destroyed that there are not even ashes left.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: The common concession of the Three Heroes Church and Melromarc as a whole is the belief that the Spear, Sword, and Bow Heroes are gods to be worshipped, the Shield Hero is a Devil out to lead humanity to ruin and demi-humans are the unholy union of humans and monsters. When Ren and his party do some investigating in the Church's archives, they discover the truth: The Cardinal Heroes, Vassal Heroes, and demi-humans were all introduced to the world in the very first Waves of Catastrophe. Some of the humans saw the demi-human's sudden appearance and their natural ability to age quickly as an existential threat to humanity's claim to the world and thus launched a campaign of genocide against them. While the Sword, Bow, and Spear heroes agreed to this campaign, the Shield Hero believed that he was obligated to protect both humanity and the demi-humans, so he volunteered to lead them into a trap, only to instead help them escape Melromarc. The place they fled to would eventually become Siltvelt, while the original launchers of that campaign founded the Three Heroes Church and demonized the Shield Hero to the people of Melromarc, a country that formed later in opposition to Siltvelt.
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • One that works for Naofumi. When the Siltvelt agents begin to follow Naofumi and Raphtalia (planning to kidnap him and kill her), several Church agents also arrive - and promptly go after the Siltvelt agents, accusing them of hiding Naofumi away.
    • The Church of the Three Heroes gets in on this by arranging for Motoyatsu to try to kill Naofumi.
  • Level Cap: Like in canon, it's a problem that the Church won't let Naofumi use the hourglass to let Raphtalia and Filo go past level 40.
  • Level Grinding: Naofumi starts off spending his days slowly grinding through balloon monsters to gain a few measly levels. Once Raphtalia gets better, they start gaining levels more quickly.
    • Cal Mira Island's awakening offers an efficient version of level grinding as the monsters provide extra XP until the adventurers reach lv 80.
    • Filo is able to powerlevel party members by having them on her back as she runs around, killing monsters by running them over with her size and speed.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Most weapon forms are level-locked. The Portal Shield, which has the teleportation skill, and only unlocks at level 50 is particularly important given that the entire plot would have changed had the Heroes had access to it earlier.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Naofumi and Raphtalia, particularly as they discuss Filo behaving as if she were their daughter.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Elhart figures that if Naofumi isn't allowed to wield any other weapons than his legendary shield, then he can still make spiked gauntlets for him that give an attack boost because that's considered armor, right? Nope.
    • Played straight when it was revealed he can make a copy of the gloves using the Weapon Copy system.
  • Lured into a Trap: Itsuki and his party are lured into a trap set by the Church Shadows due to one noble in particular acting excessively cruel to draw out the vigilante. They end up surrounded by mercenaries, his Transport Bow skill is negated, and the Church Shadow has discovered the location of the freed slaves intending to kill them. One of his party members dies in the fight, but when Itsuki triggers his Cursed Series Bow and brainwashes several of the mercenaries, it allows the others to survive.
  • Magically Binding Contract: Slave Crests function this way. When applied to someone, they become physically incapable of disobeying their master's orders. If they do, the crest gives them a magical electric shock until they do what they were told to do.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Itsuki is terrified of himself when he realizes the brainwashing power he has used on the mercenaries attacking him.
    • Naofumi suffers a Heroic BSoD when he realizes that he has killed many people under the influence of the Shield of Rage II and gravely injured Raphtalia.
  • Mythology Gag: When Ren and Itsuki fight over which of their methods is better, is a reference to when they (and Motoyasu) had a similar argument in canon.
  • New Life in Another World Bonus: Four young men are summoned to a RPG-Mechanics Verse by Legendary Weapons and dubbed Heroes. This weapon cannot be removed, and the heroes are not allowed to wield any other weapon, but the legendary weapons can absorb different materials (such as those obtained from defeated monsters) to unlock various transformations with different abilities. They can also craft things automatically, hold an infinite amount of inventory, and even make their Heroes meals as long as they have the ingredients stored in the weapon as well as the meal's recipe unlocked.
  • Not a Game:
    • Naofumi warns Ren and Itsuki to take things seriously because even if it looks like it, the situation they are not in is not a game. Both of them learn the lesson in tragedy, Itsuki when a little girl is killed in front of him, Ren after he learns he was duped into killing a dragon who was not a threat to anyone.
    • Downplayed with Itsuki. He knows it is not a game, but he tries to convince himself that it is to be able to distance himself from the deaths he has caused and the people he has been unable to save. But in doing so, he dooms others to die - including one of his party members.
    • Motoyasu fails to learn this until Chapter Fifty of the story. Chapter Sixty-One showcases why he retains his upbeat mindset despite his shortcomings.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: As noted by Naofumi himself, all four heroes tend to be dense when it comes to romance.
  • Oh, Crap!: Played for Laughs when Naofumi realizes he hasn't found someone yet to give The Talk to Raphtalia - after he and Raphtalia get into a heavy kissing session and Raphtalia tells him she thinks kissing makes you pregnant.
    • More seriously when Maya and Raphtalia find out that not only is Rabier's army a day or two away, but he also has received reinforcements from the Church of the Three Heroes.
    • During the Cal Mira Arc, the moment where Naofumi touches the underwater Dragon Hourglass - and finds out that a Wave will hit the archipelago in twelve hours.
    • Everyone's reaction when Ren triggers his Cursed Series during the fight against the Spirit Tortoise.
  • Pet the Dog: After the Second Wave and Naofumi's duel with Motoyasu, the King denies Naofumi his fair reward, so Ren and Itsuki give him the reward out of their own pockets.
    • Ren takes Wyndia into the group in order to atone for his decision to attack her father, the dragon Gaelion, on falsified information.
    • When a young Raccoon slave girl thanks Itsuki for freeing her from her evil master, Itsuki tentatively rubs the girl's hair, much to her delight.
    • Ren also rubs Wyndia's head, after hearing about Itsuki's experience, to show his appreciation for the dog-girl. While she enjoys it, she has a Tsundere moment and slaps Ren for what he'd done.
  • The Poorly Chosen One: The three non-Shield Heroes start off like this, but they slowly get better over time. A look back in the Church's records implies that this wasn't a unique phenomenon to this set of heroes; they tell of heroes fighting one another, declaring grudges, starting wars, and one who outright abandoned the job to form a harem of catgirls.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: (insert info here)
  • Possession Equals Mastery: Averted. The Legendary Weapons grant the Heroes the best stats and some basic inherent skills. However, their lack of experience wielding actual weapons and different ideas on how to unlock said skills cause them to fall behind experienced fighters. Their reliance on their weapons as they are leads to them not being able to unlock their respective weapons' full potential.
  • Rapid Aging: A well-known feature of demi-human species. Those that undergo it age physically, mentally, and emotionally with levels. The rate of aging varies from species to species.
    • Raphtalia was a known canon example, much like other demi-humans.
    • Ren notices during the fight against the plant monster that Wyndia (which he took in a few weeks before as a preteen) now looks like a teenager and has grown a few inches. In interactions with Wyndia, she is shown to be calm and mature. But in more personal cases, she's also shown to care for others, and worries for the Sword Hero. In short, she reads more like a teenage girl instead of a child.
    • When Maya (the Raccoon girl Itsuki takes into his group) asks to be allowed to help, Rachel (another of Itsuki's party members) explains about this issue, promising that in a week he will see how much she has grown. Sure enough, she looks like an eighteen-year-old the next time she's mentioned. One that obviously has a crush on her party member Aksel.
    • This is revealed to be the reason that the Church of Three Heroes hates Demihumans, at least in the beginning - since a Demi-human can grow to teenage or full adult size in a fraction of the time a human can, they believe that it's only a matter of time until humanity is wiped out, and so plan to wipe out the Demihumans first.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After being captured by the Church and taken to Melromarc's capital, Naofumi has quite a few words - combined with multiple Cluster Bleep-Bombs for the King, Malty, and Motoyasu.
  • Refuge in Audacity: When Naofumi, Raphtalia, Filo, Eclair, and Melty are unable to escape Melromarc before Motoyasu and Malty catch up to them, what does Naofumi do? Get one of Raphtalia's gloves, use it to challenge Malty to a duel... and when she balks at the idea, he taunts her and calls her a chicken, making fun of her until she accepts the duel out of a complete desire to make him suffer.
    • Naofumi's plan to deal with Rabier and his army: make an illusion of himself to distract them, and then sneak and free the slaves whilst Itsuki kills Rabier and the army commanders, putting the army into disarray.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: Everyone in the world of the story explicitly speaks in RPG terms, such as levels, stats, hit points and so on.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever they start selling things, Raphtalia always sells more than Naofumi.
    • Whenever Naofumi has any mean-spirited thoughts, Raphtalia will always ask "Master Naofumi, are you thinking something rude?". Later, Filo starts doing it as well, much to his frustration.
    • Is Naofumi a Hero, a cook, a Butler, or a mixture of the three?
    • Any time Naofumi is presented with an option to increase his attack stat, his Yandere Shield NOPES it to oblivion.
    • Naofumi calling Melty "Second Princess".
  • Sadistic Choice: When Idol Rabier and the Church are preparing to send their army to attack Reichnott's lands, the Heroes know that, whether the people evacuate or they stay to fight, many will die, because the former is bringing many demi-humans, whether for slavery or for torture. Naofumi comes up with a third option: use an illusion of himself to distract the former, while he, Ren, and Itsuki infiltrate the camp, free the demi-humans and, if they have the chance, kill Rabier and the army commanders.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the Church casts their Judgement spell on Melromarc, Elhart leaves town as fast as possible, warning his friends to do the same.
  • Self-Deprecation: The author takes a piss on himself in Chapter 100's Omake by showing how terrible he would be as the Bow Hero in spite of (more like because of) his meta knowledge.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: See Fantastic Racism above. The Shield Hero was revered by demi-humans and beastmen, humans at Melromarc Kingdom refused to give him proper capital and information. Later he turned to ask help from demi-humans and later treat them fairly like the previous Shield Heroes.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The Curse series of the Legendary Weapons align to the sins. Unless a trusted person can snap them out of it, the sin consumes the wielder's mind.
  • Seven Heavenly Virtues: The Heroes can end up unlocking a Blessed Series weapon, which are the counterparts of canon's Cursed Series, based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Unlocking a Blessed Series requires overcoming a trial that would have unlocked a Cursed Series or regaining the purpose of fighting for the world. While powerful, they have a weakness in that the Hero must hold onto the virtue that unlocks the weapon, and they have a time limit of use. Naofumi unlocks the Shield of Hope early in the story, which grants him several very useful skills.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The hero clips in chapter 9 are a Star Wars shout-out.
    • Chapter Nineteen: SAO's town of Algade, along with Agil (Andrew), the blacksmith, are both mentioned.
    • In Chapter 26, Naofumi, Raphtalia, and Filo save a group of teens named Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Luck, Vanessa, and Magna from a cave.
    • A number of the main characters and various party members featured in "Hope Of The Shield Hero" make numerous references to various different pieces of Manga and media.
      • As an example: Rachel and her husband Gar are based on the characters "Beast Boy" and "Raven" from Teen Titans. While some pieces don't match up (Raven's Father being a good guy), other aspects more than match up (Gar's use of the word "dude", Rachel's proficiency in Shadow and Healing magic, Rachel's paler appearance, and other references).
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: When Naofumi is about to kill Malty with the Iron Maiden, and knowing that if he does he will be completely lost, Raphtalia only sees one way to stop him. And she does it. This is downplayed, though, since Naofumi was on evil magical fire at the time and had nearly killed her, so once he comes to his senses, Naofumi starts panicking at the horrible state Raphtalia is in.
  • Signature Move: Like canon, the other heroes favor the "Meteor" attacks, powerful long-ranged abilities. "Meteor Slash", "Meteor Thrust", and "Meteor Shot" for Ren, Motoyasu, and Itsuki respectively.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Played straight with Raphtalia.
    • Eclair developed a crush on the Shield Hero due to the stories her parents told her about him. However, when she meets Naofumi, she can tell that he is in love with someone else and tries to let go of it.
    • Wyndia acts like a Tsundere when she's around Ren (mostly because he was duped into killing her adoptive father, although he immediately tries to begin to atone), but her care for him and her wish to help him can be clearly seen. The fact that one of the few memories she has of her mother is her singing songs about the Four Heroes, and that her favorite song was about the Sword Hero, is another possibility.
  • Situational Sword: The Royal Shield. Against most other targets, it's a waste of energy, being much weaker than other shields. But when he uses it against people of a royal bloodline or to protect them, it's extremely powerful - as Malty found out when her magic attacks were reflected back at her.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The Heroes and their parties share this opinion, but for most of them it isn't until they reach Idol Rabier's mansion that they realize how horribly demi-human slaves are treated within Melromarc, much to Melty's pain and shock.
    • This causes some trouble during Book 2, as the Heroes try to decide the status slavery will have in their village. All of them agree that it should be outlawed, but they also know that it would mean Naofumi would be breaking the law, even though Raphtalia is a slave in name only (as Naofumi's taken out all the restrictions and the seal only reacts when Raphtalia disobeys an order, and then it only gives a small shock) and he has the Slave Master Shield Series, which give any slave he has a massive boost in ability and growth. In the end, they Take a Third Option: slavery is outlawed, but seals like Raphtalia's are renamed "Hero Service Seals" and the Heroes using them are forbidden from actually using them as Slave crests.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: This is how Motoyasu describes the Cursed Series weapons. You use them in a moment of despair, and then you slowly sink into the darkness until you become a twisted version of yourself.
  • Stat-O-Vision: Status magic, an ability possessed by everyone that lets them view their levels and stats. Heroes can also use it to manage their weapon tree and item inventory
  • Status Buff: Plenty of magic users know how to empower others.
    • The knights use this to empower Malty during her fight with Naofumi.
  • Super Empowering: All the Legendary Weapons can enhance their allies, companions, monsters, slaves and more. This allows for stat boosts and faster skill learning in most cases and in the case of Filolials allows them to gain enhanced intelligence, the ability to transform into a human form and using the Filolial series even gain incredible boosts to abilities
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Naofumi's Shield is constantly disregarded as useless and weak in a world that emphasizes specializing in personal power above all else as your primary skill, alongside discrimination for its association with Demi-Humans. Except it turns out the ability to protect, support and reinforce your allies is invaluable, and multiple antagonists are often a Glass Cannon when they can't just steamroll everything in their path with overwhelming power. The power of a good defense supplemented with a solid offense is essential, and his critical advantage when he's the Tank in a world filled with Damagers.
    • The way Motoyasu chooses his party members based solely on their looks makes it easy for opportunistic gold diggers like Malty to get onto his team and take advantage of his Hero status. He also has no problem driving off the male members of the team who want to fight with him to keep it as his "personal harem", or turning a blind eye to Malty bullying the other members into acting like submissive ditzes. What's more, they're basically just glorified cheerleaders that can only be bothered to provide half-assed support from the back while Motoyasu does all the fighting despite members like Malty (at least on paper) being able to use swords and heavy armor, which is one of the reasons why they're woefully unprepared against real threats like the Soul Eater or Naofumi's own properly trained party.
    • The fact the Four Heroes were all random people from different worlds means they have no actual combat experience with their weapons. While the weapon's special abilities help them grow more powerful and they learn to fight because of this, it's shown repeatedly that at best their skills are average, so any sufficiently strong fighter can match the raw power of the weapons if they are skilled enough. When you remove the weapon's Story-Breaker Power aspects, you have four regular people without the needed training to stand up to any reasonably skilled fighter. Two examples that stand out are the Lute guard Albert destroying Motoyasu the moment he closes in (thus negating the reach advantage Motoyasu has) and Ren who gets defeated multiple times by Eclair.
    • Like canon, Motoyasu smugly thinks he's in for an easy victory when he forces Naofumi into a duel to "free" Raphtalia and is blindsided when the fight itself is much harder due to the latter going around his low attack power by improvising. Being Properly Paranoid against the country that so thoroughly screwed him over, not only is Naofumi going to take precautions in case he's forced to fight solo, it's heavily implied that the fight doubles as a subtle foreshadowing over the fact that the other heroes haven't been training as seriously as they should despite clearing the Second Wave. Motoyasu just ends up whining over him not "fighting fair", and ends up needing Malty to cheat for him in order to stand a chance (and then the King ignoring the blatant cheating). To his credit, he fares better than he did in canon.
    • Motoyasu "rescues" Raphtalia from Naofumi after winning a duel rigged in his favor by Malty and the King... and quickly gets punched in the face and told how much he sucks. It's obvious he saw her as just another pretty face he could add to his "harem", not realizing that there was more to her than just her face. Plus, he was also ignoring that Raphtalia shows no sign of her supposed mistreatment, and that the only reason she wasn't speaking up for herself was because she was tied down and gagged by the Royal Knights. Finally, he sees Naofumi weeping in the middle of a mental breakdown while Raphtalia consoles him and decides to accuse him of brainwashing her.
    • As noted by Ren, if the king really did follow through with his desire to keep Naofumi he'd be too weak to actually help out with the waves.
    • It only takes a few days under the ruinous tax Myne imposes on them (the equivalent of spending 100 nights in the local inn just for entering and leaving the town) for the economy to dry out and for the people of Lute to begin plotting a revolt. They finally do so, attacking Myne's knights and Motoyasu's party. However, there's a nested realism here - while the reason for the Rebellion was just, they did attack a member of the Royal Family and her entourage, and thus have to leave town (and possibly the country) or be arrested.
    • Unlike his canon self, this Aultclay is smart enough to know that if the Cardinal Heroes screw up, especially Motoyasu, it would reflect poorly on him, since he was the one who summoned them in the first place.
    • Naofumi and Eclair are imprisoned, and can't get out using magic. It makes sense - the governments and societies of the world have had generations to perfect prisons so that anyone with the slightest bit of magical power can't just flick their fingers and walk out. And with the Shield Hero being widely demonized, the Church has expended a lot of time and effort to prevent him from escaping.
    • Numbers don't matter much when your enemy is much better than you and you can't make use of number superiority. During Naofumi, Eclair, and Melty's escape from Melromarc's castle, two new knights get knocked out in seconds by Eclair, and Filo and Raphtalia end up defeating a large group of knights on their own.
    • Naofumi and Itsuki fall into a Heroic BSoD when they face the fact that they killed many people while in their Cursed Series state. It takes effort to get them out of there, and even then it's not easy to shake the guilty feelings off. For Itsuki, it's a resolve to become a better Hero. For Naofumi, it's accepting what he did and unlocking the next Shield in his Blessed Series: the Shield of Hope II.
    • Due to Motoyasu refusing to incorporate other strengthening methods like Ren and Itsuki did, he is far behind the other heroes, despite his high level. He is the only one unable to at least scratch Glass, even when using his most powerful attack.
    • When Naofumi modifies the Cursed Seed to produce a reliable fruit plant that grows quickly, it does indeed produce a lot of fruit in the next few days - but they are soon left dying because the ground nutrients are quickly drained. The fact that he put them too close together (rather than find someone with farming knowledge and ask for advice) only makes things worse.
    • The larger the party, the more spread around EXP from killing a monster is. Because Itsuki has a party of seven, he doesn't get as much experience from killing a boss as he expected.
    • No amount of blind faith is going to allow you to overcome someone whose already a step or two above normal fighters, and the church knights learned that the hard way when they blindly charged at Motoyasu, who is the weakest of the Cardinal Heroes, but still far above their level.
    • Not giving in to your anger is good, but bottling everything up will only make things worse. Naofumi does this, believing it's the only way to keep himself from using the Wrath Shield, until he reaches his Rage Breaking Point when the Spirit Tortoise's familiars attack. He begins to close himself off and spite at everyone that comes close, even Raphtalia, to the point that Filo asks Fitoria to take her away and most of his followers begin to drift away.
  • Spanner in the Works: When the Gengar bats and rats attack Naofumi, Raphtalia, and Filo, using illusions of the others to attack them physically and mentally, it would have worked - if it weren't for Naofumi triggering Raphtalia's crest. This, combined with her realizing that 'Naofumi' is attacking her harder than he should be capable, lets her see through the illusion and kill the monsters.
    • During their duel, Raphtalia realizes that Altara is weaving illusions as she fights. Had it not been for her encounter with the bats, past experiences with her illusion magic being interrupted, and various other factors, Raphtalia would have never realized it. But because she does so, she's able to fight Altara on more even ground.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • Ren immediately becomes suspicious of Malty's accusations because, despite claiming that Naofumi tried to assault her, she immediately hopped into Motoyasu's bed the very same night Naofumi fled. Since he's been friends with people who were sexually assaulted in his old life, he knows that something is off - going against the normal Japanese cultural norm, being that people arrested for a crime are "Guilty until proven innocent".
    • Eclair finds her father's body in her hometown and is able to put together several pieces of information to deduce that he was assassinated, not killed by the Waves. This is because she sees that he died with a Three Heroes Church rosary in his hand... when he worshiped the church of the Four heroes.
  • The Stations of the Canon: While the fic has some original episodes, most of the events and story arcs that happened in canon are visited here as well, albeit much differently on some occasions (most notably, Naofumi and Motoyasu's duel being longer, Motoyasu and Malty still fail at being the leaders of Lute, even without Naofumi's interference, and the three incidents the other heroes cause (Ren killing Gaelion, Itsuki confronting the lord for overtaxing his people and Motoyasu unleashing the Cursed seed) still happen, albeit differently).
  • Swiss Army Weapon: What the four legendary weapons and presumably the vassal weapons are on paper, capable of theoretically anything as long as the user either puts in the right materials or utilizes weapon copy on weapons of the same type. Doing this also gives the user a minor but permanent boost in a certain stat, meaning the user can become formidable by gradually stacking these benefits.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The fic features one that holds the Shield Hero and Eclair, not allowing them to access their magic nor their inventories.
  • The Talk: When Naofumi realizes that Raphtalia is in serious need of learning about this, he tries to find a demi-human old enough to give her one. He has as of yet to find one. In the end, Raphtalia almost manages to convince Eclair to do it, only for the whole Idol Rabier scenario to happen, and now no one realizes the ticking time bomb they have on their hands.
    • Finally addressed in chapter 76 by Therese and Wyndia.
  • Tennis Boss: The Pope's Replica Weapon is capable of shooting very powerful energy beams, and he's also using a barrier strong enough that not even Motoyasu's strongest attack can break it. The solution? Naofumi deflects one such beam so Ren can then use Reflect Sword to bat it straight at the barrier, shattering it.
  • Teleportation: When a hero reaches level 50, they unlock the ability to transport to any location they have saved to their weapon. The condition being they can only have a few locations they can have registered at any given time. There is also a limit to how many people they can bring with them, and around a one hour cooldown between each teleportation.
  • Terror Hero: A Hero using their Cursed Series weapon can become this if not stopped quickly enough.
  • There Is Only One Bed: After so long with getting inn rooms with two beds for them, at Cal Mira, Naofumi is finally met by this infamous trope, most likely due to Queen Mirellia wanting to help 'progress things along' between him and Raphtalia.
  • They Do: Naofumi and Raphtalia finally kiss each other on Chapter 38 after Naofumi confesses his feelings. Their later interactions are tamer, but their love and care for each other is plain to see.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Ren and Itsuki, particularly the latter. While Itsuki still has yet to stop seeing people as videogame NPCs, he is acknowledging their feelings and helping the innocent as best as possible. This is downplayed in Itsuki's case as well - it's less of "He's ignorant of what's really going on" and more of "If it isn't a game he's going to collapse from the guilt of killing and failing to save so many people".
  • Trauma Button: Finding a noble threatening to kill his slave triggers Itsuki's trauma about being bullied in his old world – and when the noble follows through, he remembers seeing his best friend killing herself because of the intense bullying she suffered. This sends him to a Despair Event Horizon, unlocking his own Cursed Series.
    • Rabier is one for Raphtalia, as he had previously tortured not only her but countless other Demihumans as well. When Raphtalia finds her best friend Rifana dead and realizing she died less than an hour before, she enters into an Unstoppable Rage and runs straight to find and kill Rabier.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When the Soul Worm begins to rip into Balamus' soul, Ren vomits into his sword's gemstone.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: The omake of chapter 59 has Naofumi using Hope Asunder (an ability that destroys the enemy's armor and greatly reduces their defense) on Glass, and since she was only wearing a kimono, she ends up almost naked. This prompts her to flee the battle, but the heroes realize that she will return the next Wave, and she'll be super pissed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Albert verbally blasts Motoyasu, telling him that he's no hero because he never protected Lute during the Wave, he didn't clean up the messes he left behind, and he was ruining the village with his idiocy. King Aultcray would later do the same thing, adding on the devastation he brought with the ancient seed.
    • Wyndia to Ren after the Battle of Melromarc, calling him out for isolating himself from his party precisely when he knows he needs them to become stronger.
    • Fitoria does this to Naofumi when he becomes such a Jerkass after the mess with the Spirit Tortoise's familiars that Filo begs Fitoria to take her away.
  • Xenafication: Downplayed, but the women in Motoyasu become more powerful and capable after he abandons them. This is due to Aultcray forcing Malty to study and them using Rino to gain levels.
  • You Remind Me of X: Wyndia reminds Ren of his best friend.
    • Naofumi reminds Fitoria of the previous Cardinal Hero who raised her.

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