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Fanfic / The Sage's Disciple

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"That's right. I planned a Fate/Zero fic...around a giant mech fight."

The Sage's Disciple is a Nasuverse Self-Insert fanfiction (specifically Fate/Zero) written by Rictus. After appearing in the summoning circle of a serial killer with a mysterious mask on his face, the protagonist takes up the pseudonym of "Crow" and scrambles to survive the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War as the Master of Caster. Fortunately for him, Gilles de Rais isn't Caster this time.

The Sage's Disciple is complete. The author started a sequel, The Puppeteer's Bodyguard, but later on decided certain elements diverged far too much and began a rewrite, A Crow in the Garden.


The Sage's Disciple provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Saber, as expected.
  • Actually a Doombot: Crow has made good use of Caster's mini-Wicker Man golems to this effect. It saved his life when Kayneth decided to "test" him by slicing his head off with Volumen Hydrargyrum at the Docks. As a side effect, Kiritsugu suspects that Crow is a high-tier Puppet Master.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: During their interlude, one of Assassin's personalities was amused at the irony of an Assassin being assassinated. The rest of them think he's a bit of an oddball.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Kiritsugu lost his left arm to Lancer during the attack on the Hyatt Hotel. Fortunately for him, Irisviel managed to replace it with an Artificial Limb made of Alchemy-enhanced iron.
    • While he still has the limb, Kirei's left hand was burned to the point of uselessness and cursed with the inability to heal — at least until Crow asked the mask nicely to dispel the curse.
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  • The Apprentice: Crow is the eponymous "Sage's Disciple." Shinji sees himself as this after latching onto Team Caster and calls Crow "Tengu-sensei." While initially reluctant, Crow went along with it since the boy had nowhere to go after getting left behind by his Dirty Coward father during the Matou house raid.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: It's gotten to the point where this is almost Team Caster's MO.
    • Within 3 minutes of appearing in front of Uryuu Ryuunosuke, Crow knocked the serial killer unconscious and freed the boy he was intending to "sacrifice" to Canon!Caster before setting both Ryuunosuke and the house on fire and running away as fast as he could.
    • Team Caster broke into the Matou Mansion to rescue Sakura right after the Docks fight, then burned down the house and destroyed the Worm Pit in the basement. They picked up Shinji as an after thought.
  • Batman Gambit: After acknowledging that his future knowledge will dry up fairly quickly, Crow relies on what he knows of the other competitors' personalities when planning his nightly activities. He may not be able to predict exactly what will happen anymore, but he's got a good idea of how the various players would react.
  • Beneath the Mask: Crow, as seen by the other Masters, is a bombastic and suicidally confident magus with a flair for the dramatic. However, Caster mentions that Crow is soft-spoken and nervous when away from the War, but drastically changes when needed. It's implied later that he separates the personas into "Crow the crazy awesome badass" and the real Crow. He also tends to use terminology that frames his "badass" moments as a stage performance.
  • The Berserker: Berserker, obviously. However, he has been Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Fic so far. Until Chapter 14.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Rin and Shinji. Crow calls the former "Tiny Tohsaka" and the latter "mini-Shinji" in his head.
  • Break the Scientist: Crow muses how surreal it is to be served wine by Alexander the Great in a western-style Japanese castle to drink with Cù Chulainn and King Arthur.
    Somewhere, a historian was crying because of the mere existence of that sentence.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kayneth. As pointed out by Caster in Chapter 14, every single plan that Crow comes up with somehow comes back to bite the Master of Lancer. This prompts Caster to jokingly ask if he has an irrational hatred of blondes, to which Crow admits that Kayneth was just the easiest target, despite being the strongest magus in the war (barring Caster). However, he keeps bouncing back from it, almost landing him in Iron Butt Monkey territory.
    • The Docks scene. Kayneth used it to draw out other Servants, but Caster and Crow set up Rune traps everywhere earlier in the day, effectively allowing them to hold everyone hostage for a few minutes (and kill an Assassin).
    • The Hyatt Hotel. After warning Kayneth about Kiritsugu's intent to bomb the hotel, Team Caster went in through the roof while Lancer was away, knocked he and his fiance unconscious, and made off with a suitcase full of Mystic Codes and a vial of Volumen Hydrargyrum.
    • After realizing they needed a spiritual surgeon to remove the Crest worms from either Sakura or Kariya, Team Caster used Berserker as a distraction to keep Lancer occupied again while they snatched Sola-Ui, their medical supplies, and Kayneth's backup vial of Volumen Hydrargyrum... after knocking Kayneth unconscious again.
    • When he tried to invade Team Caster's camp to retrieve his fiance, his Servant was forced into an inescapable death match via Caster's Ath nGabla, leaving him to face Crow. Despite arguably being the strongest magus in the war, Crow brought him down with what boiled down to flashbang runestones, an enchanted slingshot, a vest of invisibility, and guerrilla tactics. To Kayneth's credit however, this was only possible after nearly four days of hit and run attacks during which Team Caster had stolen his most powerful Mystic Code and Crow was equipped with weaponry specifically to use against him. Even then, Crow was forced to do a lot of running until he got the chance to get close... and knock him out.
    • In the sequel, Crow was using his credit card to buy groceries until he finally remembered to cancel it.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Crow didn't want to get involved in the Holy Grail War, intending to go find Zelretch and get the hell out of the Nasuverse as soon as possible. Unfortunately for him, the Grail suddenly found itself needing to replace a Master candidate...
  • The Cameo:
    • When Crow called the Hyatt Hotel to warn Kayneth about Kiritsugu's attack, a teenaged Fujimura Taiga picked up the phone at the front desk.
    • Kiritsugu briefly compared Crow to Aozaki Touko while under the mistaken belief that the former was a puppet master.
  • The Cavalry: Rider by default. His Gordius Wheel saved Crow at the last second from a painful interrogation at the hands of Kirei.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Many of the interludes so far. Time will tell if all of them end up being such.
  • The Chessmaster: To everyone that's aware of his existence, Crow comes across as this when looking at his actions as a whole. By the fourth day, he has managed to arrange an alliance with Berserker and Rider, crippled Kirei and Kiritsugu before (accidentally) convincing the former to kill the latter, disarmed Gilgamesh of some of his most powerful weapons, caused Saber to doubt her wish, killed forty of Assassin's bodies, convinced Sola-Ui to remove the Crest Worms from Sakura and Kariya, and knocked Kayneth and Lancer out of the war.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Both Caster and Crow have proven that they're willing to fight dirty.
    • Crow, when teaching Shinji to fight, makes it a point to instil this line of thought into him.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Aozaki Touko was fully prepared to offer her firstborn or second child to Crow when she found out he learned Primeval Runes from Cu Chulainn. What Crow wanted? To work as her bodyguard. Compared to what Touko offered, Crow offered the puppet magus peanuts in exchange.
    • Until you think about what exactly he gets out of the deal. After the Grail War, the only thing that had changed from before it was that Crow had some magecraft under his belt and some more money. By working as Touko's bodyguard, he effectively gained a base of operations to work out of (as temporary as it is), basic necessities (food, shelter, income), the protection provided by Touko's reputation, and access to a magus that would be willing to teach him the basics he had completely bypassed to learn his Rune Magic. To a traditional magus, it is indeed peanuts. But to someone focused on surviving? Crow got everything he wanted out of the bargain.
  • Cool Teacher: Shinji sees Crow as this.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Crow Mask. If removed from Crow's possession, it will inevitably end up back on his face via Offscreen Teleportation. He's only tested this once before Genre Savvy kicked in. However, it won't do it so long as it is on his person somewhere.
  • Cool Mask: The mysterious Crow Mask, which Crow appeared with. Next to nothing has been revealed about it, other than it gives Crow the ability to speak and read any language. Invisitext scattered throughout the story pretty explicitly implies that it's intelligent and personally knew Caster. Due to its presence, Gilgamesh momentarily thought Crow was a demigod before realizing the truth. He later referred to the mask as a "shard of the divine."
  • Dented Iron: Though Kariya manages to survive the War by submitting himself to surgery to remove the Crest Worms, Sola-Ui's expertise has its limits. The man's left with diminished capabilities in an arm and a leg, and one of his eyes is left permanently useless.
  • Deus ex Machina: Literally, in this case. When Kirei had Crow cornered at the Einzbern Castle, Rider's Gordius Wheel plowed through the floor, saving him from a painful interrogation at the Executor's hands. It didn't stop him from pursuing, though.
  • Destructive Savior: Team Caster causes a LOT of collateral damage and their actions tend to have unexpected consequences. During the raid on the Hyatt Hotel, Kiritsugu lost an arm to Lancer and was forced to use a Command Seal to survive. During the Feast of Kings, a significant portion of the Einzbern Castle was demolished by a combination of Rider's Gordius Wheel and Archer's Gate of Babylon and Kirei lost the use of his left hand. All because of Team Caster's interference.
  • Dual Wielding: Crow's main armaments are a married pair of knives called the Twin Tines, E-ranked Mystic Codes created by Caster. Made from a stag's antlers, they were imbued with the concept of "purification." They function similarly to Baptismal Sacraments, but both have to be used for power to take effect, which itself isn't that strong. They managed to stun Zouken for several days, where a Baptismal Sacrament was enough to kill him outright.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Gilgamesh spends a few hours in the Tohsaka wine cellar after Caster robs him blind.
  • Empty Shell: Sola-Ui gets hit by this when she feels Diarmuid die while she's working on removing the Crest Worms within Sakura. She keeps working, though her movements become a lot more mechanical and her voice becomes noticeably colder. She slightly recovers later, but not after Rin is thoroughly freaked out at seeing a person basically become a machine and resolves never to allow herself to become like that.
  • Foil: Crow destroys the Kirei-Kiritsugu alliance by pointing out the contrast between the two men.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Because of Team Caster's interference at the Docks fight, neither Gilgamesh nor Berserker showed up to fight. However, the former appeared and confronted them during the raid on the Matou House, prompting an Oh, Crap! followed by a quick retreat.
    • Because of Crow wrangling an alliance between himself, Rider, and Kariya, Kirei made an offer of alliance to Kiritsugu without Tokiomi's knowledge. With the super power of Caster, Rider, and Berserker facing him, the Magus Killer grudgingly accepted despite not trusting the Executor.
    • Due to getting a front row seat to the surgery to remove the Crest Worms from Sakura, it's extremely unlikely that Rin will turn out quite like her canon self. It's implied that she may give up magecraft altogether or at least not become the "perfect magus" that her father wants her to be.
    • Except for Kiritsugu and Irisviel, all of the Masters survived thanks to either Crow's machinations or chance. Rider and one of Assassin's bodies also survived.
    • Because Kayneth survived, Waver is unlikely to become Lord El Melloi II. However, he still has Rider with him, so his prospects aren't too bleak. In the sequel, a mere detour on his way back home ended up with him actually named Lord Einzbern.
  • Geometric Magic: Caster's Rune Magic. Unlike his Fate Grand/Order version, this version of Cú Chulainn uses Elder Futhark runes instead of Armanen, due to the author believing it to be more historically accurate. Crow has started learning Rune Magic when they have free time.
  • Godzilla Threshold: After recovering from his Heroic BSoD, Gilgamesh is so infuriated at Team Caster that he uses Sha Nagba Imuru (Omniscience, effectively), which he normally keeps sealed. However, something appears to go wrong as apparently causes the world itself to glitch for a moment. Rictus explained that the glitch was caused by the concept of Omniscience being denied, which caused the world to do a hard reboot. Still, he never explained what Gilgamesh exactly saw, just that he wasn't happy about it.
  • Golem:
    • Caster can create miniature versions of his Wicker Man Noble Phantasm to serve as decoys or guards, similar to Medea's Dragon Tooth Warriors.
    • Aozaki Touko, being a high-level Puppet Master magus, also planned to summon a legendary Golem wielder (Avicebron) as Caster. Too bad Crow accidentally hijacked her command seals.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Crow has done a lot of morally ambiguous things in the name of surviving the Grail War. Kidnapping, arson, manslaughter, theft. He also threatened Kariya into an alliance by forcing him to pick what he wanted more: saving Sakura or getting revenge on Tokiomi.
  • Green Thumb: Caster is very adept at manipulating wood. The primary use of this skill has been to create mini-Wicker Men and Team Caster's base camp, furnishing it with a cabin, chairs, tables, and hammocks.
  • Groin Attack: Scathach the warrior-witch seems very fond of it, since Caster mentions a "dick-withering curse" of her invention and her first impulse after realizing Cu Chulainn managed to copy her Gate of Skye is ripping off his man bits - but not after thoroughly and vigorously making use of them, no sense in wasting the opportunity.
    • During their fight, Crow managed to deliver one to Tokiomi. Despite using Reinforcement magecraft on himself, Tokiomi was still went "slightly cross-eyed."
    • And after the end of the War, Tokiomi received another from his wife when he explained exactly what had happened to Sakura and why she wasn't going to return with the Tohsakas.
  • Guile Hero: At the beginning of the war, Crow was the weakest when it came to knowledge of magecraft (even Waver and Kariya had more). He leverages his Wild Card status to keep everyone off balance as he scrambles to survive and thrive in the Fourth Holy Grail War. When facing people that, by all rights, should be very capable of squishing him like a bug, he either relies on fast talking or hit and run tactics.
  • Hates Being Touched: Unless you are Crow, the Crow Mask. When Kirei tried to remove it from Crow's face, it scorched his hand into charcoal and cursed it to be incapable of healing. Additionally, he smelled like burnt meat for hours after the fact.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: While talking with Sola-Ui, Crow idly noted that he found her fairly attractive, particularly since she had red hair. However, he was more concerned with how much of a potential threat she was.
    • In the sequel, he admits to being attracted to Touko, even if he's well aware suicide is quicker and more painless than actually attempting to start a relationship with her.
  • Heroic BSoD: Gilgamesh's reaction to having all of the launchable weapons in Gate of Babylon stolen by the imitation Gate of Skye. One of them was Enkidu.
  • Honor Before Reason: Outside of the characters that are literally knights, Crow himself occasionally invokes this. Once he gives his word on something, he keeps to it, even if it doesn't benefit him. Because of this, he's careful about actually promising anything. An example of this is when he has Caster kidnap Sola-Ui in Chapter 14. He could have easily had Berserker kill Lancer and Kayneth, but instead had Kariya pull him back because he promised Caster a chance to properly fight Diarmuid.
  • Identity Amnesia: Whatever method was used to transport Crow to the Nasuverse apparently erased all memory of his real name as a side effect. He goes by "Crow" just to have something to introduce himself as.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: After momentarily escaping from Kirei, Crow was nailed to one of the Gordius Wheel's Divine Bulls by a pair of Black Keys, though he was healed by Caster soon after. In Chapter 25, Caster is stabbed from behind by Saber, who was thought to have died with Berserker and Archer.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The Docks fight and the Banquet of Kings still happen, though the latter occurs a day early.
    • Gilgamesh still ends up naked on the final night of the Grail War.
  • Instant Runes: Caster's magic. Crow has yet to reach this point and has to physically carve runes to use them.
  • Kill Sat: Caster's other Noble Phantasm, Ochd Deug Odin.
  • Killed Offscreen: Archer kills Berserker, then is killed, while Crow is busy with Tokiomi and the Assassins; Caster tells him after the fact. He also reports that Archer killed Saber; she's Not Quite Dead.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Crow, as a gamer, is familiar with the trope. Takings include Ryuunosuke's book of formalcraft and his wallet, suitcases worth of Kayneth's mystic codes and his wallet, and two of Kiritsugu's guns, including the Thompson Contender. Not, however, the contents of the Matou library.
  • Magic Knight: Caster in a nutshell. To make up for his lower physical parameters, he boosts his performance with Runes before getting up close and personal.
    • Crow is working his way towards becoming one as well. While he uses trickery more often than not, if forced into a confrontation he'll default to Good Old Fisticuffs and throw in magecraft when able.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Most of the competitors see Crow as this, since he wears the Crow Mask whenever he's doing "Grail business." Kariya and Waver are the only Masters that know what Crow actually looks like.
  • Meaningful Name: Crow. Like the bird he's named after, he has a tendency to steal what he needs until he gets a hold of Kayneth's wallet.
  • Me's a Crowd: Assassin
  • Mistaken for Badass: Crow deliberately invokes this trope by trying to make himself look far more dangerous and powerful than he actually is by doing things such as joining Caster on the front lines instead of hiding. So far, he's convinced Emiya Kiritsugu that he's a high-tier Puppet Master by using Caster's mini-Wicker Men as decoys, Rider thinks that he's an oracle due to his future knowledge, and the rest of the competitors see him as a combination of Magnificent Bastard and The Wonka.
  • Money Mauling: Per Word of God, with his regular projectiles stolen, Gilgamesh resorted to blasting the soldiers in the Ionioi Hetairoi with coins.
  • Mundane Utility: Caster uses a Primordial Rune - something many magi would sell their descendents for - to warm his Master. Crow cannot help but laugh when he thinks about it.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens several times. Also, this is Crow's general reaction to being in the Nasuverse.
    • Crow realizes that he's within arm's reach of Berserker right as he receives his Command Seals. He broke out into a dead sprint, hoping Kariya didn't notice him.
    • Team Caster's collective reaction to seeing Gilgamesh waiting for them as they're fleeing the burning Matou Mansion. And again to him showing up at the Banquet of Kings.
    • Crow flipped out when Kayneth turned a steel wire into a "extendo-lightsaber-chainsaw-whip" using Alchemy during their fight before slicing through everything at waist height within thirty feet.
    • This was the readers' reaction when they noticed that during Saber's interlude, she noted that Irisviel referred to the Second Magic as "lost," implying some nasty things about the story's setting.
    • It happened again when Aozaki Touko made an appearance.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Due to his Identity Amnesia, the main character goes by the name Crow after being called "Karasu-san" by the child he rescued in Chapter 1.
  • Overly Long Name: Along with The Unpronouncable, this is why Crow shortens Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri to "Sola-Ui."
  • Papa Wolf: Caster hopes to one day gut Byakuya Matou for abandoning Shinji in the Matou mansion, deeply disgusted the man so casually threw away something he'd have given the world for.
    • It's implied that he went through with this while away from Crow at some point as Byakuya turns up dead a day before the end of the Grail War, apparently from a botched mugging.
  • Portal Door: Caster's imitation Gate of Skye spell. Once he has established a territory, he can transport items inside of that territory to the Land of Shadows.
  • Running Gag: Crow tends to solve his problems during the Grail War with theft and kidnapping. Caster calls him out on it.
  • Refuge in Audacity: This fic's hat. Crow uses this trope to invoke Mistaken for Badass in his bid to actually survive the war. The more outrageous the plans, the longer he believes he will live. This actually earned him a lot of respect from Rider and formed the basis of Team Caster's alliance with him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The three surviving Assassins out of the twenty dispatched to the Banquet of Kings immediately fled as soon as Gilgamesh was forced to retreat.
  • Seen It All: When Crow nervously confesses his Self-Insert status to his Servant, Caster isn't fazed since he was taught by a witch who killed things until she became immortal. Maybe it rates in the top ten, but certainly not the top five.
  • Semi-Divine: Caster, Rider, and Archer. Gilgamesh briefly mistook Crow for this, but realized the feeling was coming from the Crow Mask.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Crow's design resembles Shuuya Kano from Kagerou Project.
    • A lot of Caster Cu Chulainn's feats in this story have been based off the Fate/Grand Order Material I book and the first Fate/Grand Order OVA.
    • Crow's biggest verbal burn on Gilgamesh was taken nearly wholesale from The Princess Bride.
  • Shrinking Violet: Sakura is closer to this than Creepy Child.
  • Shout-Out: When Gilgamesh calls him a mongrel, Crow comments "You Keep Using That Word. I don't think it means what you think it does... half-breed."
  • Tap on the Head: Caster repeatedly knocks out Kayneth with a staff to the head.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Crow and Matou Kariya. Kariya dislikes Crow for kidnapping Sakura from the Matou Mansion and strong-arming him into the alliance by threatening to have Caster hide the Tohsaka children from him permanently. Crow doesn't trust Kariya's degrading mental stability or his ability to control Berserker. Their mutual aim to help Sakura is the only thing preventing them from trying to kill each other.
    • After Crow arranged for the worms to be removed from Sakura, the animosity between the two has lessened somewhat, though Kariya is still suspicious of Crow and tends to snipe at him. Later, Kariya's mental instability causes him to briefly turn a gun on Crow.
    • During their very brief alliance, Kirei and Kiritsugu. Even before Kirei's double-cross, Kiritsugu was extremely distrustful of Kirei.
  • The Team: As of the fourth Interlude, the Grail War has been split into two "factions." Berserker, Rider, and Caster are on one, held together by Crow.
    • Aside from the canon alliance of Kirei and Tokiomi, Kirei allied with Kiritsugu behind his master's back. However, it was short-lived and crumbled after Crow accidentally convinced Kirei to kill Kiritsugu.
  • There's No Place Like Home: Crow. However, by Day 4 of the Grail War, he's figured that if something had the power to bring him to the Nasuverse, it wasn't likely to let him leave until he's done whatever he was called to do. Ultimately, he does still want to go home, though.
  • Time for Plan B: Crow invokes this trope multiple times in his head, although sometimes he goes past plan B. If he's in over his head, Plan A is usually either "run like hell" or "talk them down." If Plan A doesn't work or isn't feasible, he goes straight to "punch in face, repeat as needed." He doesn't really like Plan B all that much since the people he's being forced to fight can casually manipulate the laws of physics.
  • Tsundere: Scathach is indeed a scarier Rin Tohsaka. Upon realizing that Cu learned the Gate of Skye technique without her permission, she resolved to "rip his man parts off" but not before vigorously using them.
  • The Unpronounceable: Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri. Crow doesn't bother remembering more than "Sola-Ui."
  • Unskilled, but Strong: As a magus, Crow is hopeless since he has zero training. While he knows some of the mechanics of how Nasuverse magic works, he doesn't know how to do them. However, he has an average number of Magic Circuits of decent quality, as well as a nigh-superhuman Od capacity. Once he figured out how to activate his circuits, he's able to support Caster while barely feeling any drain.
    • With Caster's help, Crow has been working to change this.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Crow give two such speeches: one to Saber, the other to Kariya.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Crow has a fear of falling. However, Magic Circuits require a strong sensation to activate them, so he uses the sensation of "falling endlessly."
  • Wild Card: Of The Unfettered and Manipulative Bastard variant, though he is also the "Wild Card" Master of the Fourth Holy Grail War. Crow relies on constantly blitzing the competition, so he doesn't stay still for long. If he loses the initiative, he dies. During his conversation with Sola-Ui, it's noted that he has a tendency to get others to act as his proxies, whether they know it or not. So far, he's used this tactic against everyone except Waver and Rider. As a result, no one can get a good read on him, and the few guesses that have been made are mostly incorrect.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: As much as he grumbles about it, Crow has gone out of his way to help the kids he's come across and refuses to use foul language in front of them.
  • Your Head A-Splode: During their last fight, Crow manages to shove a pocketful of magic flashbangs into Kiritsugu's mouth. This is the result.

Tropes appearing in The Puppeteer's Bodyguard:

  • Alternate Timeline: Outside of the Moonlit World, this seems to be the case for the mundane world. Russia remained an absolute monarchy due to Tsar Alexander III surviving well after World War I, the Titanic managed to reach New York City before sinking, Operation Valkyrie succeeded in 1944, etc. More dramatically, the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki never happened due to sabotage, so the U.S. was forced to implement Operation Downfall and kept Japan subjugated until well into the Eighties. Crow spends much of his free time researching other such changes and trying to figure out why its so different from the world he knew.
  • The Bartender: Cormac Driscoll, owner of the Live Steel Irish Pub. When ruffians tried to firebomb his establishment, he pulled his greatsword off the wall and chased them off. He's actually a Fraga spy that's been following Touko around for years. He just doesn't really care about being subtle.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Touko is one of the scariest women and most powerful magi on the planet. While he's her "bodyguard," Crow wonders if his job isn't actually "accountant", since his job mostly boils down to stopping Touko from impulse-buying the latest shiny thing she lays her eyes on.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Some readers think Avalon and the Thompson Contender's presences in Crow's "workshop" are this.
  • The Dreaded: Araya Souren is this for Crow, even more so than Zouken was during the Grail War. Anytime his name pops up in Crow's internal narration, he has a minor Oh, Crap!. He has no idea where the ancient monk-turned-magus is or what he's doing, just that he's somewhere in Mifune City. That terrifies Crow to no end and ramps up his paranoia, especially since he doesn't have Servant backup this time.
  • Film Noir: Has several elements of this, especially in the first chapter. Centering around a detective agency? Check. Grungy city? Check. Smoking? Check. Monologues? Check. Lampshaded when Touko calls him out on the internal monologuing. Also, Crow's actually annoyed at how much his boss smokes as it makes working in the office uncomfortable.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Araya Souren is both this and the Big Bad for Kara no Kyoukai. While he hasn't made an appearance yet, Crow is well aware that the man is responsible for a great many of the bad things that happen in Mifune City. He just doesn't know the full extent of it and it leads Crow to constantly wonder "Is Souren involved in this somewhere?"
  • Loony Fan: To Rin's mild annoyance, Kazuo, the kid Crow saved from Ryuunosuke, later turns into this for Crow.
  • Mundane Utility: Crow uses fire magecraft to light Touko's cigarette. Also, he created a rune array to clear the smoke out of the air around his desk and another one in his basement room in case Touko forgets to put out her cigarette before snooping in his workshop.
  • Poverty Food: Touko mentions she nearly bankrupted herself again by buying the catalyst to summon Avicebron, and trembles at the idea of eating nothing but ramen for weeks. Crow bails her out by buying a lot of nonperishable food with Kayneth's credit card.
  • Running Gag: The Tiki statue in Touko's office. Crow thinks the thing is creepy and comments on it often enough to get the Mask annoyed at him.
  • Shout-Out: "He's both the worst and best spy I've ever heard of." -Crow in regards to Cormac
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: How Waver Velvet becomes head of the Einzberns.