They already survived one Grail War right, so how bad could another one be? Oh wait, there are twice as many Servants? There's a Ruler? There's another weird priest? And their faction is called the . . . Oh boy if Shirou and Rin survive this, they'll be having words (and swords and curses and explosions) with Zelretch.
The Third Faction is a Fate/stay night fanfic by TheMaster4444 set after the events of the Unlimited Blade Works route that follows Shirou and Rin navigating the events of Fate/Apocrypha after being reunited with Saber as the third faction in the Great Holy Grail War.
They thought they couldn't be surprised anymore but as it turns out Fate has a way throwing more curveballs at you.
And Shirou and Rin should know by now, that nothing is what it seems in a Holy Grail War.
Tropes found in The Third Faction:
- Adaptational Villainy: Canonically, Darnic's actions in the Third Holy Grail War only incidentally result in the death of Zouken Matou. In the reality Shirou and Rin are dumped in, Darnic purposely murdered the Tohsaka and Einzbern families alongside Zouken.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Jack's death is given quite a bit of sympathy by the Blue Faction in spite of the terrible things they've done since ultimately Jack is merely a conglomeration of children who died unloved and never even given the chance to really live. Ultimately the best that Saber can do is give them a quick death with Excaliber's holy light to show them that hope exists and they die content even if they believe that hope is an impossible dream for them.
- Alternate Universe: The Fate/Apocrypha world is one to the Fate/Stay Night world. Zelretch sends Shirou and Rin there to spice things up.
- Attempted Rape: In Jack's simulation of old London, Fiore sees a man trying to rape a woman. She tries to stop him, only to find she's lost her powers. The man then tries to rape her, but she manages to call Chiron to her side with a Command Spell, and he kills the man.
- Big Brother Mentor: Shirou to Sieg: Though Shirou doesn't believe he makes a good role model for Sieg due to his own mental issues. Nonetheless, Shirou is happy to help the homunculus however he can and even teaches him cooking which Sieg picks at an extremely quick pace.
- Cassandra Truth: Shirou denies vehemently that Kiritsugu was the infamous Magus Killer when told so by Sisigou who worked with him once.
- Death by Adaptation:
- Word of God confirms that Darnic wiped out the Tohsaka, Makiri (Matou), and Einzbern families in this version of the Apocrypha universe. Canonically, only the Makiri line died out, due to Zouken being killed when Darnic stole the grail.
- Jack and Chiron are killed during Jack's initial debut, where canonically, no Servant or Master died during that confrontation. Chiron's death, in particular, is very notable since he didn't die until the Final Battle with the Red Faction in the canon timeline as opposed to his very early death here.
- Didn't See That Coming:
- Nobody expected a third faction to show up in the Great Grail War.
- Saber is left completely floored when she sees her estranged son Mordred as the Saber of Red for the war.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Mordred gets rather angry when Atalanta compares their upbringings and tells her that the two are nothing alike and that she doesn't want her pity.
- The Dreaded: Shirou is this to Sisigou and Amakusa, though less because of his own abilities and moreso due to his connection to Kiritsugu, the Magus Killer. Sisigou, in particular, doesn't want anything to do with Kiritsugu after a joint mission with him left Sisigou so terrified of the Magus Killer that he kept tabs on his fellow mercenary just be sure he could be as far away from him as possible.
- Embarrassing Nickname: This sums up Rin's feelings about the color that their faction of herself, Shirou, and Saber are given by Zelretch. Luckily, Ruler fixes that little pickle by formally dubbing them the Blue Faction in honor of Saber's signature look. Unfortunately, everyone else in the war hasn't been made aware of this, so they still refer to them by their faction by their initial color designation: The Periwinkle Faction.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Due to their prior experiences with the grail, Shirou and Rin initially assume that the grail is corrupted with the spirit of Angra Mainyu, unaware that, due to Darnic's actions and the Einzberns summoning Ruler Amakusa instead of Avenger, the grail was never corrupted. Ruler eventually straightens them out in this regard.
- Honour Before Reason: Arturia, remembering how Diarmuid met his end, chooses not to allow Siegfried to fall without a proper fight and so gives him Avalon to regenerate his missing heart even though it is a huge loss in a war against so many Servants.
- Internal Reveal: Shirou finally finds out the truth of Kiritsugu's past in the UBW timeline thanks to Sisigou. Needless to say, he isn't happy to find out his father was the Magus Killer and doesn't believe Kairi at first.
- It Amused Me: The apparent reason why Zelretch sends Shirou and Rin to the world of Fate/Apocrypha since he found how the war played out to be rather dull and felt they could spice things up. Whether this is true or if Zelretch has some alternative agenda is yet to be revealed. Archer (EMIYA) hints to Shirou in a dream that Zelretch may have ulterior motives beyond alleviating his boredom.
- Locked Out of the Loop: It turns out Shirou had no idea about any of his father Kiritsugu's past, so he is utterly shocked when Kairi Sisigou calls him the Magus Killer, one of the most infamous mage assassins in the world.
- Man of Kryptonite: Shirou is this to a few Servants. Since his Reality Marble, Unlimited Blade Works, is a separate world, Vlad loses his Home Field Advantage of Romania. Since Unlimited Blade Works is always daytime, Jack's Maria the Ripper finisher, which only works at night, is neutralized. Since he can Trace the history of weapons, he can quickly identify their owners and weaknesses. For example, as soon as he meets Siegfried, he informs Saber of his Achilles' Heel that a spot on his back is not invulnerable.
- Mêlée à Trois: Thanks to the Blue Faction's involvement in protecting Ruler, the first battle of the Great Holy Grail War in this universe is between Siegfried, Karna, and Arturia, representing the three factions of the war.
- Namedar: Thanks to Shirou's ability to Trace the history of weapons, he can very quickly identify Servants if he can see their weapons.
- Odd Friendship: Mordred and Atalanta. They don't have any significant interactions in canon and their personalities are as different as night and day but in this fic, Mordred actually refers to Atalanta as "her cat" due to her lion ears and Atalanta identifies with the Knight of Treachery due to both of them being rejected by their fathers.
- Spared By Adaptation: Unlike in canon, where he died after giving his heart to a dying Sieg, here Siegfried survives his attempted Heroic Sacrifice thanks to Arturia giving him Avalon to regenerate his missing heart.
- Stunned Silence: Mordred has this reaction when she sees Arturia, her father, on a motorcycle.
- Supreme Chef: Shirou as per always. He also passes down some of his skills to Sieg who picks them up extremely quickly.
- Worthy Opponent:
- Saber, Siegfried, and Karna all view each other as this after their three-way duel.
- Vlad actually gains a significant measure of respect for Rin after she unflinchingly stands up to him and successfully convinces the Black Faction to stand down to allow her and her allies to leave.