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Fan Fic / Unfamiliar

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Louise: What makes you think my familiar is something other than a simple human commoner?
Kirche: When he put his hands on your shoulders, I saw his face change.
Louise: Who wouldn't want to make faces at a shameless woman like you?
Kirche: This is serious, Vallière. You remember that sound it made? I know you heard it because you looked up. Your familiar's face changed. It started wearing your face.

There are many The Familiar of Zero fics where Louise summons a different person at the beginning of the story, providing dynamics parallel to or wildly disparate from those in canon. In very few of those stories, though, is the summoned being an unstoppable, betentacled monstrosity fresh from (literally) chewing his way through most of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Yes, seriously.

Started in the wake of The Hill of Swords on the SpaceBattles Fanfiction Forum, Unfamiliar, by Cpl_Facehugger, is a crossover between The Familiar of Zero and [PROTOTYPE], where Louise summons Alex. It's actually less unfair than the premise sounds (no Mercer Attacks Everyone Dies, for example).

See [PROTOTYPE] and The Familiar of Zero for the tropes of those respective universes.

Sadly, it's a Dead Fic, deceased since 2012.


Unfamiliar provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 2-D Space:
    "One thing to keep in mind," Mother said, even as she dodged once more. "Is that mage battles take place in three dimensions."
  • Abusive Parents: Initial impressions of Louise's mother Karin were like this. It turns out that things are more complex than that.
  • All Just a Dream: The night she summoned Alex, Louise woke in the middle of the night to see Alex in Blob Monster form, who tells her she's having a nightmare. Some time later, he admits the truth of it.
  • Animals Hate Him: Or rather, familiars are terrified of Alex.
  • Anti-Hero: Alex, obviously. He's less a good guy and more an independent, sapient killing machine that happens to hang out with the good guys, and lacks a firm grasp on that whole 'ethics' thing.
  • Anti-Villain: Discussed in Alex's internal monologue. "Why was it that everyone always had to have sympathetic reasons for being his enemies? Why couldn't he ever have to kill someone who was just a raving murderer, driven by hate and evil and an urge to kick puppies?"
  • Advertisement:
  • Arm Cannon: A wrist-mounted crossbow.
  • Asexuality: Alex doesn't care for human notions of romantic love; viruses, even humanoid ones (presumably), don't reproduce that way, after all.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: King Albrecht Wales, who takes positively ridiculous amounts of punishment. Hinted that he's not fully human.
    • Henrietta, showing that one can be the most Badass person in the realm without being a One-Man Army
      "Allow me to promise you this, Karin: If you cross me, I will break you. I will use your family as an example of those who oppose me. There are but two options. You can join the tsunami or you can be crushed underneath it. I'll drag Tristain into the future whether you like it or not."
  • Badass Boast:
    Alex: "I tear your arms off and use them as clubs to beat down the man next to you. By then the arms are getting pretty bruised and tender, so I simply tear the next man's spine out. Now, a spine is a useless weapon, no matter what literature would tell you. So from there, I start gutting your men like fish and feasting upon their delicious flesh. Perhaps I could even skip the gutting and start when you're alive." Mercer replied. "Either way, I proceed on to the rest of your gang and kill them too."
    • Another one:
      Alex: "I survived the heat of a newborn sun! I survived a building collapsing on me! I've survived things you can't even imagine! If that's your best shot, you better start running!"
    • A third:
      Alex: "Individuals can't win wars where I'm from. The wars are too big for that," Mercer leaned in, giving her a cold grin. "Unless that individual is me."
    • Henrietta, of all people, to Karin.
      Karin: "Nobles have always policed themselves. Some abuses are the price we pay for the freedoms we cherish."
      Henrietta: "That must change. Justice is the word of law, not the perverse whimsy of men like Lord Mott. And change it will. My mother will not be queen forever.
      Henrietta: "Then, I will no longer have to hide in the shadows and sign minor reforms in her name. When that day comes, you will have two options. You can support me and secure the Vallière family's future... Or you can obstruct me, and I will grind you to dust underneath my heel."
  • Barehanded Blade Block: By Alex, of course.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Louise wanted a powerful familiar. What she got was a walking supervirus. Oh yeah.
    Hadn't she begged for exactly what she got? Some powerful monster to be her familiar? Clearly God had a perverse sense of irony.
  • Berserk Button: Okay, Alex, as in canon, has more of a Berserk Switchboard, but of importance to the story is his insistence that you never treat people like things. You can insult them, hate them, kill them, whatever, but you acknowledge them as people who can think, just like you, not tools to be used or toys to be played with or animals to be caged, even if they're peasants and you're a noble. It doesn't just apply to him, either, though he reacts violently to Mott calling him Louise's "pet".
    • He also really hates Blackwatch. His joy at finding the armory full of modern weapons is sullied when he realizes it's a Blackwatch armory.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "No soreness? No nausea? No urge to infect everything with an unstoppable zombie plague?"
  • Break the Cutie: Louise promptly goes catatonic after she sees Alex effortlessly and ruthlessly kills some thugs with his Lovecraftian Superpowers right in front of her.
  • Break the Haughty: Many of Alex's actions at the beginning of the story are about systematically doing this to Louise, showing her that she cannot and will not control him.
  • Broken Pedestal: Alluded to by Karin, who thinks that putting Louise on the throne as a puppet would be a bad idea because of this.
  • Call-Back: Several regarding the events of Prototype.
  • Cargo Cult: In a way. They are a bunch of descendants of the Blackwatch group that got stranded that are continuing the mission and protecting the base. Also they lampshaded it a bit.
    "What do you think we are, superstitious barbarians who worship anything that's shiny?" The cult leader replied. “We may venerate our ancestors and respect them, but we know they were human just as we are today. And we know their weapons are mortal weapons, made by man to slay his enemies."
  • Cargo Ship: In-universe, Alex shows a bit too much affection for the Javelin.
    • And just like the Doomguy, he ditches the Javelin when he stumbles upon a stocked Blackwatch base, complete with helicopter gunship.
  • The Chessmaster: Henrietta is playing a long game. Time will tell if she becomes a full Magnificent Bastard; she's too ambiguous to be a Guile Hero by chapter 9.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The big reason behind why Alex can't use magic, despite having consumed several mages.
    Just a simple gust of wind, just like his memories showed him.
    Probably because he'd not expected anything to happen. He had dozens of scientific degrees telling him that it was impossible after all.
    • Also counter-used by Alex twice.
      "You don't believe you can do it. That's why it's not working. Magic won't work if you don't believe you can do what you want."
      "This base is powered on electricity, and that won't change just because you deny it."
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Alex's sociopathy is frequently Played for Laughs. Particularly whenever the subject of explosions comes up.
    "I like explosions. I like them a lot."
    • Dark Derflinger as well.
    "It'll be fun! In fact, let's go down there right now and introduce ourselves with a great big surprise stab! Like surprise sex, except even more fun!"
  • Cool Airship: Alex gets a helicopter in the Blackwatch station.
  • Cruel Mercy: Fouquet/Matilda is spared, but will be watched closely by Alex from then on. One slip and Alex will go after her.
    • “I wanted to punish the Flame Snake. ... But seeing him here... Any punishment I dole out is just going to be weak next to what he's already doing to himself. The cruel thing will be to let him live."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Guiche, Montmorency, Kirche, and Tabitha all gang up on Mercer. Mercer takes them out in less than a minute.
    • The duel between Mott and Mercer ends the same way. But this time with Mercer killing him slowly.
    • According to Word of God, this will be averted in the Hold the Line scene in the original story, when Saito holds off the army of 70,000 men.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: In this continuity, Dana never came out of her coma and eventually passed away; Alex is therefore left with no emotional ties to his old world and a vacancy for a young adopted sibling to alternately protect with his life and unintentionally horrify. Until he meets Louise, he starts to lose any sense of humanity he may have formed after the events of the game.
  • Dangerous Deserter: There are some who have turned to piracy and taken a warship with them. Except they aren't.
  • Darker and Edgier: A lot. Where do we start? How about... Alex only being summoned in a second, half-crazed attempt? Henrietta being a firm practitioner of Good Is Not Nice?
  • Dating Catwoman: Jean Colbert and Longueville/Fouquet. Mainly because Colbert is such an unbeliavable nice, cuddling considerate guy... who is very well packed that Fouquet had become very possesive of him and him of her .
  • Dead Fic: And buried, with the grave hidden by secrecy of state. Since as far back as 2012, Cpl_Facehugger has refused to answer whether or not the fic is going to be continued, going as far as deleting questions and speculations posted on his profile, and locking threads.
    • Confirmed dead as of January 2nd, 2017.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Alex and Louise show the traits.
  • Deconstruction Fic: The story closely examines the dark implications of the abuse that Louise would often inflict on Saito by using Mott as a more extreme example. And when Louise is confronted with how much of a sadist she can be after she has Alex kill him, she's notably horrified.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Alex, now that he has nothing connecting him to his old life, which is why he chose to follow Louise.
  • Dirty Old Man: Old Osmond knows he is, though in his own words:
    Osmond: What you failed to realize is that I'm an intelligent, wise, and experienced dirty old man who can tell when a woman is trying to exploit him for her own ends.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Alex's semi-functional conscience. Both ways.
  • The Dreaded: The viral monsters created by Redlight and Blacklight are scary in their own right, but after six thousand years they have become apocalyptic monsters of legend. Siesta's reaction when she realizes that Alex is ZEUS says it all.
  • Driven to Suicide: Some of the Blackwatch soldiers.
  • Epic Fail: Alex trying a fireball.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: "But, see, even psychotic soldiers and amoral scientists have families and people they care about. So I get it from both ends. Seeing them kill or experiment on innocent people, but also seeing that they're a husband, father, or son."
  • Even Heroic Sociopaths Have Standards: Louise notes that Alex's kills, while incredibly brutal and bloody, are also very quick. Mott prefers to draw out the suffering of his victims and break their wills along with their bodies.
    • Kirche also mentions that Germania, which likes to think of itself as sexually liberal, banned the book A Thousand and One Albion Nights, which Mott drew from, as being too depraved.
      "And if they ban it in Germania of all places, it must be really sick."
    • In terms of actual villains, Wardes prefers to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties - he's insistent on any deaths he causes being meaningful. Note, however, that he has an extremely broad definition of 'meaningful'.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The leader of the cultists maintaining the Blackwatch base has a "low and sinister" voice.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Fouquet makes a point of keeping her dignity intact once Alex has her at his mercy, simply requesting that they pass a message on to Tiffania. Luckily for her, he spares her life.
  • Feel No Pain: When Louise first tries whipping Alex. She's extremely sore at the end of the session, and he is far from fazed.
  • Finagle's Law: Mercer grumbling to himself as he glides towards an enemy airship.
    "Should've brought the chopper," Mercer muttered, barely able to hear his own voice over the wind rushing all around him as he glided towards the enemy. "No, it's too obvious I said. I won't run into anything I can't kill myself I said. I should've known Murphy would screw with me."
  • First-Name Basis: Louise eventually changes to this for Alex.
    • Kirche deigns to use Louise's first name when trying to calm her after Mott's death, but reverts shortly afterwards.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Mr. Fluffles, Karin's manticore.
  • Foreshadowing: "Come to think of it maybe I should try flying. I've never tried before. With the right adaptions, I bet I could. Hmm, maybe later."
    • 'Someone named "W" provided the group with funding and intelligence, possibly in hopes that it would weaken confidence in the Tristainian government through their activities.'
    • 'Unfortunately, he hasn't collected enough EP to unlock Skyjack: Dragon yet.'
    • "Listen, Alex Mercer can't be a plaguebearer for one simple and little known reason. Plaguebearers, also called Maidens of Pestilence in some apocryphal sources, are female."
    • "I might have just found two members of your team."
    • "A ring was stolen from me. ... It was stolen by a human, Cromwell."
    • 'Tabitha's dragon always seemed to fidget whenever the topic of rhyme dragon scales came up in conversation.'
    • "[The D-Code Super Soldier] gave of his own blood, which Brimir used to anoint the Knights Carnifex and render them immune to the infection." And now Henrietta and Agnes have samples.
    • Blackwatch put up satellites recently.
    • Sheffield's missionaries look a lot like Runners. And they're about to spread their gospel.
  • Future Imperfect: The many tales about Brimir and the "angels of God", Blackwatch.
  • Genius Bruiser: Remember, Alex has eaten doctors.
  • A Girl and Her Humanoid Killing Machine
  • Glasgow Grin: When Kirche meets Alex she assumes he's human and in the same breath insults Louise. There are some tearing noises and…
    Alex (wearing Louise's face): Whoever said anything about me being a human familiar?
  • Going Native: The Blackwatch soldiers in Halkeginia.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: Louise is developing one.
  • Gonna Need More X: In response to Fouquet animating part of a mountain.
    Alex: ... I'm gonna need a bigger tentacle.
  • Good Is Not Nice: A more positive view of the current portrayal of Henrietta.
  • Hidden Depths: Kirche showing a suspicious amount of knowledge about violence.
    • Also what appears to be Karin's heavy hand towards parenting is something else entirely.
  • High-Class Glass: Wales' majordomo has one, complete with it dropping out when surprised.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Alex about Wardes, not helped by the latter being a smooth operator.
    • Also, Louise about Henrietta some degree. Entrusting her with all your secrets is not a great move, especially when her first thought is how to use those secrets to remove a potential threat to the throne and the Valiere family. It did have the upside of guilt-tripping her, though.
  • Horror Hunger: Not that horrific to him, but Alex has to actively rein in his urge to feed. Word of God states that this Alex did not have a civilian all-you-can-eat buffet during the game's events.
    • As said to Cattleya, "For instance, right now, I'm having to restrain myself from killing you. Not because I have anything against you, but because there's a big part of me that looks at you and sees fresh food. There's another part of me who wants to infect you and make you like me, but that's just the same as killing you. We'd end up with something that looks like you and has all your memories but isn't you."
    • It's implied that it was less than a standard player's run of the game but more than the "minimal civilian consumption" achievement.
    • He eventually deals with it by feeding on orcs which he claims aren't truly self-aware.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Alex of course. Even before people find out what he is, they suspect there's something not right about him.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: '[Alex] seemed to be tapping the letters set into its form, and moving around a strange rounded thing that reminded her of a field mouse, if some unthinkably alien mind were to take it and reimagine it according to their sensibilities.'
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: Alex is a sapient virus, after all. He knows the rationale and underlying science of stuff, but still doesn't actually understand why people think and act the way they do, lacking proper human intuition. He knows when Louise is upset, but has no idea what to do about it or what to say to make her feel better.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Although he's technically her familiar, Alex is far more dangerous than Louise.
  • I Am a Monster: Louise's opinion of herself after the killing of Mott.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Alex says this when Siesta connects Alex to Manhattan and Kirche points her wand at him.
    • Then Henrietta says it of Louise to her mother.
    • Fouquet says the same about Wales, not to the man directly though.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Mott tries to use this against Alex. As it's Alex fucking Mercer, it doesn't take. Louise, on the other hand, takes it badly.
  • Iron Lady: Henrietta. Karin of the "Heavy Wind" is one of the strongest and most feared warriors in the land, her name told in awed whispers and her mere presence making even Colbert sweat in fright. When she confronts Henrietta thinking she was using her daughter as blackmail material, she not only was unamused, but completely derailed her opinion and called out her nonsense while drinking tea.
  • Irony: Kirche saying "Tabitha! I need your brain!"
    • Look at the first Mythology Gag below. Louise tells Alex that she would have stopped before causing permanent damage.
    • Alex notes the irony when Fouquet's mountain-sized golem grabs him with a huge tentacle.
    • The D-Code Super Soldier being called a Hunter of God. For those of you joining us from the The Familiar of Zero side, D-Codes were created to kill Hunters.
  • It Amused Me: Alex has just enough empathy and social skills to know that violence doesn't always immediately solve a problem so he sometimes goes for this instead.
  • It Gets Easier: Louise's desensitisation to violence.
  • "Just Following Orders doesn't cut it." Admitted by the guy who did the following, no less.
  • Kid with the Leash: Although Louise doesn't have anything like complete control over Alex, he'll defer to her if she asks nicely. And he makes it clear that he must be treated as a partner, not a servant or a pet, if Louise wants him following any of her orders. Then again, if she does ask nicely, there's pretty much nothing he won't actually do for her.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: In a spiritual sense, Alex. Justified considering what happened to Dana.
  • Lack of Empathy: Probably the strongest thematic in the story. Just like in the original work, the Lack of Empathy is what can and did create some of the greatest brutalities in the world. And this goes not only for obvious monsters like Mott and the King of Albion, it goes for even the main and secondary characters: Louise and Karin's view of commoners, Siesta's view of nobles, and Mercer's view on humans in general. As stated by Mercer;
    You can insult them, hate them, kill them, whatever, but you acknowledge them as "people who can think and feel.".
    • Mercer in particular has instinctive Lack of Empathy due to his viral nature, and tries even harder to fight it. He also encourages Louise to avert it.
  • Lady and Knight: Louise and Alex, of course.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": Under Louise's foot.
  • Lonely at the Top:
    "Poor kid. I didn't have the heart to tell her what you have to give up to get to the top."
  • Loophole Abuse:
    "Belong to?" Montmorency asked, looking at the servant nearest her as if for the first time. "B-but slavery isn't legal in Tristain."
    "Of course it isn't! Keeping human beings as chattel? Horrible. Absolutely horrible," Mott replied. "I'd never condone such a thing."
    "So what do you call this," Louise gestured towards the three servants. Her voice came out as a low growl. "If not slavery?"
    "These aren't people. They're trained dogs." Mott replied. "You can't enslave an animal. You can only tame it."
    • Note: This is him actually believing it. The man went off the deep end a long time ago.
  • Mad Bomber: Alex. For him, the bigger the explosion, the better. He even provides the quote for When All You Have Is a Hammer... below. It's justified by him having consumed several pyromaniac soldiers.
    Alex: After class, I want you to show me your spells; (...) I know they're explosions, but I like explosions. I like them a lot.
  • Mama Bear: Deconstructed. Karin loves her daughters very much and wants to protect them above all else... so she ended pushing each one beyond their breaking point and refused to even smile in pride of their accomplishments to make them strong. This has left Louise with severe emotional problems and Cattleya's openly questioning if she even cares.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Henrietta is the real power behind the throne.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Henrietta
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Derflinger: "Then we kill it? Because I'm behind that. I'm so behind that I've warped around to being in front of that. And by in front of that I mean I'll stab the hell out of it. Stabbity stab stab-"
  • Money Spider:
    Kirche: "Or find it on animals that have absolutely no business carrying money!"
  • Morality Pet: Louise serves as this for Alex. In fact, she takes Dana's place in this regard. Alex's memories of Dana sometimes keep him honest...ish.
  • Moral Myopia: Siesta accuses Louise of this. Henrietta poses a similar question to Karin, though the readers have noted that Henrietta herself is guilty too.
    • The difference with Henrietta is that her ruthlessness is with people in the game, while Karin was content enough to let Mott act scot free as long it suited her goals. She was not amused by this.
  • Mugging the Monster: A bunch of bandits see Louise and her "servant" walking alone at night down a blind alley, and think they'll be easy prey. They are disabused of this notion thoroughly when Louise' "servant" makes easy prey of them.
  • Mundane Utility: When Alex tries to explain electricity by likening it to lightning magic, Montmorency is outraged by the thought of using it for light and likens that to using a fireball for toe-warming.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: No, it isn't and Alex at least tries not to immediately start killing people.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Karin holds this attitude.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    "Excellent. A full quad of experienced mages," Osmond had an unsettling twinkle in his eye, "as well as Miss Valièrre and her familiar."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Louise after Alex kills Mott.
    • She's still recoiling from that one.
  • Mythology Gag: "Imagine you came upon a scene where a woman was beating a man with a bullwhip. Imagine you saw her cackling like an insane harpy, imagine you saw the whip tearing long bloody strips from the man's back... Imagine you saw him begging for mercy."
    • "Louise thought she felt a slight tug in the back of her mind as she passed a particular shop, one with a bronze sign in the shape of a sword."
    • "Louise recognized its make, it was a form of training harness, used for training hunting dogs. Enchanted with wind magic, it was able to give a powerful shock on command.
      But seeing a human being in it made Louise feel ill. She couldn't imagine anyone who would put a person in something like that. She didn't want to imagine anyone who would put a person in something like that."
  • Name's the Same:
    "Just following orders? That excuse went out of style at Nuremberg," Mercer muttered.
    "What does a Germanian township famous for its crab apples have to do with such things?" Cattleya asked, now thoroughly confused.
  • Necessarily Evil: How Louise and Alex interpret Blackwatch's motives. The fact that the group recognizes their evil and does it for a tenuously good purpose is perceived as what keeps them from Mott's level of depravity.
  • Never Say "Die":
    The words "kill them" were on the tip of his tongue. But Cattleya's words about how Louise felt responsible for his actions bubbled up from the back of his mind. "-Knock them out so we can interrogate them."
  • No Social Skills: Alex hasn't improved in this regard since the game. He does not, for instance, see any problem with walking up to a pair of arguing sisters, lifting one off the ground, and threatening her with death unless she makes nice with his mage. It says something that this is actually a step up from where he started.
    • When Louise starts to fall apart, thinking she's becoming a monster, he's completely unable to do much more than watch in frustration. He didn't even notice Louise was freaking out until Cattleya pointed it out to him.
    • He also doesn't see anything wrong with reassuring Louise with a hand on the shoulder after she commands him to kill Mott... while the hand was still a claw, covered in gore, and he was feeding on Mott's severed head with his free hand. Granted, he doesn't understand human behavior, but what's commonplace to him is often Nightmare Fuel.
  • Not So Different: Louise realizes this after she learns Alex's true nature and compares his own struggle with himself to her desire to prove she isn't just "zero".
    She frowned; hadn't she begged for exactly what she got? Some powerful monster to be her familiar? Clearly God had a perverse sense of irony.[...]
    Something struggling against itself, wanting something new for itself...She laughed. A perverse sense of irony indeed.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Headmaster Osmond.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Louise to Henrietta.
  • Off with His Head!: "Alex, be a dear and remove Lord Mott's head from his shoulders."
  • Oh, Crap!: Siesta's "You're ZEUS. You're ZEUS." after Alex does his face-transformation thing.
  • Older Than They Look: Louise is 17, but Alex initially thinks that she's only 12 when they first meet. Hence, he finds the way she seals the magic contract with him a bit creepy.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • One from Cattleya:
      Louise was struck by how vicious that last line was, at least for Cattleya.
    • Another from Louise:
      Louise cut her off. Meek Louise cut her off.
      The shock of that was almost enough to give even Karin pause. The very notion was stunning, like having a battalion of mage-knights wiped out by a farmer's militia.
  • Out of the Inferno: Who else?
  • Patchwork Fic: Cpl_Facehugger has stated that he is largely writing this based on the light novels, but Mott was an anime-exclusive.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Absolutely no one misses Mott. No one in Louise's main group, of course... but also not his servants, his political allies, NO ONE.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: So far Colbert, Kirche, Henrietta, Fouquet/Longueville, and Cattleya have been upgraded to Triangle or Square class.
    • Personalities have also been greatly improved, Henrietta most of all. Karin is also shown to have Hidden Depths in the recent chapters.
    • By Word of God, Montmorency has been upgraded to Triangle class after the events of Chapter 7, where she overcomes her limits to save a life.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: With Alex as the familiar, some things obviously have to be changed if it's not to be a curbstomp fest.
  • Precision F-Strike: Provided by Siesta.
    Now [Erina] was quiet. She never spoke once on the way back, and the only sound she made was the soft inhale/exhale of breathing. And she never, ever smiled. Now she seemed hesitant and frightened and fuck Mott.
  • Protectorate: Alex's - along with every other familiar's - purpose is to protect the mage he's bound to, and thus far he's shown very willing to threaten and/or murder anything that looks at Louise funny.
  • Puff of Logic: Invoked by Alex.
    "I'm here, aren't I? I didn't just appear for no reason. You summoned me. With magic." Mercer replied. "I think that disproves any delusions that you're not capable of magic. Because otherwise I'd be vanishing in a puff of contradictory logic right now, and you'd be plummeting to your death. Probably trying to grab ahold of nothing and watching as the ground rushed closer and closer with every second..."
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Justified for the six thousand-year-old Blackwatch base by the preservation spells cast on it long ago and the cult of Blackwatch descendants maintaining the place.
  • The Reveal: Derflinger the Evil Weapon in Wardes's hands.
    • Siesta's ancestors were Blackwatch.
  • Sentry Gun
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: When Mercer turns into a mouse, he still weighs the same and his body is extremely dense.
  • Shout Out:
  • Slasher Smile:
    The Princess' smile was too predatory to be anything else, and her eyes said she'd not been bluffing.
    • And when Agnes confronts Colbert
      It was a smile, yes, but it was different. Malicious, cruel. This was scary. His smile was scary. Matilda realized then that she was seeing the true face of the Flame Snake, perhaps for the first time.
    • And when Mott begs Louise to spare him.
    Louise smiled, eyes wide and gleeful. She didn't even notice Kirche and the others backing away from her.
  • Squee!: Alex, when he finds the Blackwatch armory.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Does a good job of mangling this to make the plot more interesting. Louise only summons Alex after the formal class, the duel arc involves Guiche, Kirche, Tabitha, and Montmorency trying to kill him for being a plaguebearer while using Louise as bait, etc.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Done to Colbert, Kirche, and Karin by Alex.
  • Straw Misogynist: Averted. While a lot of villains may look like this (Mott, the King of Albion, and Wardes), it immediately shows that they are horrible people to anybody weaker than them and ready to exploit them for their own end and pleasure. What the King did to his prisoner must be read to be believed.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Alex likes explosions. He likes them A LOT. He perks up immediately when they are brought up.
  • Super Soldier: The various nations of the ZnT-verse are gearing themselves up with elite forces using Blackwatch biotechnology. Naturally, this can only end well.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    "I should not speak ill of a noble, milady," Siesta replied.
    What her handmaiden didn't say was more informative than what she did. Mott clearly wasn't a good ruler.
    • Inverted later when Kirche notes a suspicious lack of denial by Alex about being the plague-spreader.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Louise notes similarities between Alex and Fouquet.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Alex says this about Orcs.
  • This Is Reality:
    "So who's resetting those traps then?" Louise asked, more to herself.
    She almost expected some hideous and reptilian voice to call out "I am," but that only happened in clichéd stories.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Alex and Louise both say this nearly verbatim when they see what Mott's been up to.
  • Throw 'Em to the Wolves: Both Inverted and played straight. Louise leaves Mott to the mercy of Alex, intending for her familiar to kill him in a duel... but Alex had been fully intent on killing the guy anyway, and might have done so even without prompt. And Louise definitely didn't avoid getting her hands dirty in the incident, at least how she sees it.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Used to explain how Blackwatch was summoned by the Founder six thousand years before Alex was.
    • Moreover, Blackwatch from several years after [PROTOTYPE] happened.
  • Training from Hell: Alluded to.
    Cattleya: Almost too easy. Except for the dying. That sounds more like Mother's training regimen than any teacher I've had.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-Universe, Karin's reaction to Tabitha.
  • Up to Eleven: The duel with Guiche is turned into a four-on-one battle, Fouquet is a Square-class mage, the Staff of Destruction is an FGM-149 Javelin missile launcher rather than a LAW etc.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Averted when Louise manages to talk down the cultists tasked with maintaining the Blackwatch base.
  • Voice of the Legion: Alex does this at least twice. One of those being reciting Blackwatch's Badass Creed.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...:
    Alex: "There is no problem that can't be solved with an explosion of the right size, in the right time, and the right place."
  • Who Names Their Kid Duke: Louise's father.
  • Word of God: Cpl_Facehugger has provided some in-depth analysis of how this version of ZnT came to be, including history, technology, personal history, military doctrine, the works. He's shown his work quite extensively.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Fouquet realizing that Louise is a Void Mage.
    "Wait. Wait. Dispel. That's what that brat and her pet monster were researching. Dispel. But that's a void spell. Oh that is bullshit."
  • Younger Than They Look:
    Kirche: "Just how old are you, Mercer?"
    Alex: "About six weeks, give or take."


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