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Fanfic / Wandering of a Sword Hero

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Wandering of a Sword Hero (ePub) by A Dyslexic Writer is a Crossover between Fate/stay night and The Rising of the Shield Hero that serves as a Continuation for the former and a Fusion Fic for the latter.

Set five years after an AU outcome of the Heaven's Feel route where both Shirou and Illya managed to survive the Holy Grail War because he got his hands on a curse-absorbing Noble Phantasm from Chinese Mythology called Hanba, originating from a timeline where it was an actual Divine artifact instead of a Demon.


This, of course, did nothing to save her from her preprogrammed demise. After giving Illya Avalon to buy her as much time as possible, Shirou became a freelance magus i.e. mercenary in order to get the money, contacts, and magical knowledge necessary to keep her alive.

When their ordeal seems close to be over, mere three days before Illya's scheduled operation to replace her artificial Magic Circuits with normal tissue, Shirou is suddenly summoned to a fantasy-like world as one of the Four Cardinal Heroes.

Now, with an Older and Wiser Shirou stuck in a new world, he will have to protect it and its people from the Waves of Calamity before he can return home. That is, if its inhabitants and their political games, religious zealots, rampant Fantastic Racism, commonplace slavery, and delusional Heroes won't prove to be a greater threat than any monster falling from the sky.


That is the plan, but first Shirou needs to figure out the RPG Mechanics 'Verse that makes little to no sense to him, grind his levels and unlock skills as his usual fighting style is restricted by his new and rather possessive partner, the Legendary Holy Sword he named Jian for short. Not that he won't try to find some loopholes, much to Jian's constant frustration.

Word of God confirmed that the story is on hiatus. It was further confirmed in Heroic Sword of the Black Cat that he'll get back to it after some time has passed.

On June 19, 2020, due to toxic reviews and complaints from some readers, the author temporarily deleted this story from along with with A Storm of Swords. The fic has since been reuploaded.


Wandering of a Sword Hero provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to E 
  • Achievements in Ignorance:
    • Shirou is summoned to an RPG Mechanics 'Verse with only second-hand knowledge of videogames at best to get by, so he tries everything and anything that comes to mind in order to make the best out of the new options available to him — and to compensate for the large chunk of his skill set he's currently banned from using as the Cardinal Hero of the Sword. For example, he discovers the Equipment Upgrade mechanics by telling Jian to "throw money at it" just to see if something happens.
    • This is more often Subverted, though. For example, Shirou was getting suboptimal results by letting his Legendary Weapon absorb defeated Monsters whole until he was told Naofumi separates the remains by type (fangs, claws, hides, etc.) before feeding them to his shield, allowing the Shield Hero to unlock several weapon forms per type of monster instead of just the one. Somewhat Double Subverted because Naofumi figured that one out on his own by trial-and-error as well.
  • Adaptational Badass: Invoked. Shirou, specifically his Mercenary Saint persona, is actively trying to make the other three Cardinal Heroes stronger... with mixed success.
    • He tells Naofumi about the other systems available to his Holy Weapon that his canon self wouldn't discover until right before the Cal Mira Story Arc, as well as new info such as to how to unlock [Dual Wielder] despite only having a Shield, and even lets him borrow his party members to help him and Raphtalia to level up past level 20 before his first Wave. He also supplies him with a number of Traced Shields to Weapon Copy that can also be used as offensive weapons, such as the [Steel Blade Shield]. This gives Naofumi the idea to have Erhard create shields such as a [Flail Shield], although both take real practice in order to be used properly.
    • Shirou teaches Motoyasu about the other systems too, drags him into a duel against him in order to correct the Spear Hero's inadequate fighting style to some extent, and later on he recommends Monster Allies to compensate for Motoyasu's in-name-only Battle Harem. Notably, his improved tactical awareness shines in Chapter 40's battle, where Motoyasu makes several simple but sound and relevant observations that even Naofumi can't argue against. While trading notes on the Legendary Weapon's functions, Motoyasu shares what he knows, mentioning that he unlocked one of them, namely the Skill Point function, on his own sometime after his talk with Shirou.
    • The Bow Hero's case was a complete failure. Shirou simply couldn't get through Itsuki's Heroic Wannabe Insane Troll Logic and even had to fight down the urge to cut off one of the kid's arms before his delusions could cause more trouble. Shirou did tell Rishia several ways Itsuki could make better use of his Legendary Holy Weapon, but it's very unlikely that he will listen to her.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Lancer is slightly more of a jerk. While in Canon he was willing to team up with Rin and Shirou in UBW and can be a Friendly Enemy (as seen in Stay Night, Hollow Ataraxia, and Today's Menu for Emiya Family), here he probably cursed Shirou to be hated by dogs because of jealousynote .
  • Adapted Out: With Shirou as the Sword Hero, Ren Amaki doesn't get summoned to the other world.
  • The Alibi: In Chapter 27, Shirou makes sure a lot of people see him leaving Zeltbull accompanied by his party leading a massive caravan of almost 550 Filolial-pulled carriages transporting over ten thousand slaves he purchased en masse from the East Gate Colosseum. Once his group was hundreds of miles away, he uses Jian's Warp Whistle function to double back, pulls off a Heist Episode for the ages, and then teleports back to them in time for plenty of witnesses to see him arrive with them to the next main stop.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Shirou in his "Issei the Sword Hero" persona presents himself as an utterly unfeeling goal-oriented One-Man Army Nominal Hero that only counts as such because he fights the Waves of Calamity, but he will maim and kill anyone stupid enough to get in the way of that. No woman in her right mind should want to have anything to do with the guy, much less feel attracted to him. Unfortunately, no one has ever accused Malty S Melromarc of being particularly smart or sane.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: After his Kleptomaniac Hero/Karmic Thief stunt in Zeltoble, Shirou is sitting on a stash of over a million gold coins in Jian's Hammerspace. Furthermore, by taking the Colosseum's vault (not just the contents, but the vault itself), Shirou also unlocks the [Treasury Sword], which converts inventory items directly into more money. For reference, when he converts all the other stuff he purloined that day into cash to avoid getting caught with stolen goods, it nets him an extra 4,000 gold, which more than enough money to buy himself a mansion. Ironically, there's very little he really needs to spend all that cash on, thanks to his Spontaneous Weapon Creation magic and Jian's cooking function covering most of his party's expenses. Up until he unlocks the Over Customize function, that is.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Justified via RPG Elements. Shirou and Jian unlock the Title/Fame function based on Shirou's knowledge of Heroic Spirits gaining strength relative to how famous they are. This system grants him Titles that boosts specific stats related to the accomplishment that unlocked it and proportional to well-known it is. For example, one of the better-known ones like "Father of the Holy Bird" grants a 6% all-stat bonus to allied Filorials, whereas "Griffin Slayer" for Shirou's one-off stunt at the Colosseum under a disguise only grants 2% bonus damage to Griffins. Naofumi and Motoyasu later unlock it themselves after Shirou shares what he knows with them.
  • Batman Gambit: How Naofumi wins his duel against Motoyasu. He pretends to be affected by the paralysis effect of his opponent's [Lightning Spear] skill and shakingly tries to drink from a vial of potion. Motoyasu naturally assumes it's a cure for the paralysis and runs to take it away from him because [Lightning Spear] has a very long Cooldown and he correctly fears Naofumi will mercilessly capitalize on it if given the chance. Suddenly, Naofumi grins and instead throws the vial's contents, powdered poison, at Motoyasu's face at point-blank. Then Naofumi uses [Shield Bash], injures and then threatens Motoyasu with his [Steel Blade Shield] until the duel judge has to declare him the winner lest he injure the Spear Hero too much.
  • Big Eater: The Filorials in general, of course, and Demihumans during their Rapid Aging periods, but there's also Jian who eagerly copies the swords Shirou conjures up from his Reality Marble. She even has him set apart a time of the day for this and she never seems to have enough, which is why he refers to this as "feeding" and calls her a glutton.
  • Birds of a Feather: Raphtalia and Rita bond over having Oblivious Love Interests who treat them like they're kids, although the former wonders how the latter could fall for someone who is (apparently) so much older than her.
  • Blank Slate: The Legendary Weapons are revealed to be similarly self-aware and have the same potential to develop as sophisticated an intelligence as Jian's, but they're still stuck as Blank Slates due to how different their experiences with their respective wielders have been. Jian (very smugly) compares herself to them as a "grown woman standing over toddlers".
  • Bling of War: Invoked for anonymity, ironically enough. Shirou Traces a very eye-catching and expensive-looking, if not outright tacky set of armor for himself and morphs Jian to a ostentatious form when he requested an audience with King Aultcray in Chapter 20. This was done in order to make it easier for random soldiers to believe he's the Sword Hero, and to take advantage of the rumor mill to strengthen the effectiveness of his disguises. Indeed, after an entrance like that, who would expect a pragmatically-dressed adventurer/mercenary carrying plain swords to be the Sword Hero?
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Discussed. Shirou observes that knowing of an untold number of cultures in an endless number of parallel worlds had made Zelretch's sense of morality too complex to make sense of. However, Shirou rules him out as the one responsible for dragging him to a different world, because taking him away from Illya when she needed him the most is decidedly not okay no matter how you look at it.
  • Body Horror: "Body of Steel" is the name for that nasty and potentially lethal misfiring of Shirou's magecraft in canon where pieces of his body turn into blades or when swords are Traced inside of his body as if growing out of it. In the visual novel, it either kills him or saves his life, depending on the day and the route. Here, however, it has its noncombat uses. For example, a Cardinal Hero's own body is an obvious exception of the "no wield" rule, as it would be stupid of their Legendary Weapons to stop them from punching or kicking, so Shirou can Trace and wield blades like Rule Breaker in this manner without getting zapped, as described in Loophole Abuse below. He also uses it to grow steel horns during Chapter 39 with obvious results.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The Over Customize function in a nutshell. It improves the other systems and unlocks Hidden abilities of unmastered weapon forms that lets you instantly master it...if you can pay for it. Motoyasu lampshades the Pay To Win nature of the function.
  • The Cameo: Luvia and Rin make an appearance in Chapter 30, when Fitoria travels to Zelretch to tell him to not interfere with her World and this particular version of Shirou. However, this Rin and Luvia are a different version of the ones the story's Shirou knows.
  • Centipede's Dilemma:
    • A curious variation. The Cardinal Heroes are forbidden from wielding other weapons, but what counts as "other weapon" or not depends on the Hero's own perception. For example, Shirou uniquely can't even hold cutlery because his mindset as a Combat Pragmatist can see even a butter knife as a potential weapon. He keeps this particular quirk of the Legendary Weapons to himself because if any of other Four Heroes finds out, they could become unable of using everyday items, just like he has to turn his priceless legendary Morph Weapon into a knife and a fork during meals.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Shirou keeps some of the sand that he gets from the Dragon's Hourglass (which he used to unlock [Transport Sword] ), just in case. Fifteen chapters later, he gives these remnants to Naofumi so that can unlock his own version of the support skill ([Portal Shield]), without the complications of going to the Hourglass as a Persona Non Grata.
    • Shirou, in his Mercenary Saint persona, Traces a shield hiding a spring-loaded blade for the Legendary Shield to copy. Naofumi would later use his [Steel Blade Shield] to secure his victory his duel against Motoyasu.
    • Shirou Traces a copy of the Shroud of Martin for Naofumi in order to help him endure opening his Magic Circuits. The item is also very resistant to environmental effects, which Naofumi uses to his advantage in Chapter 39 to tank Motoyasu's [Lightning Spear] skill without getting paralyzed and win their duel.
    • In Yami's mini-chapter, Shirou hands her a projected weapon to help with his Genghis Gambit. The weapon in question wasn't described, but considering her reaction, it's definitely important. Next chapter reveals that it's the Legendary Weapon Replica.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Naofumi and Shirou. Naofumi is pretty understandable since he just started to move on from his anger at his false charges, but Shirou is a major offender as he has a harem of three back home. You'd think five years would have made him less dense. Nope, he's still the same as ever, probably because none of his canonical relationships developed in a normal way, and thus he never learned to read the signs until way too late.
  • Comedic Spanking: When Shirou finally gets fed up with Itsuki's childish yet dangerous Insane Troll Logic, he decides to treat him like a child. He folds the guy over his arm and spanks him in front the caravan Shirou was guarding and both of their party members. Then he let him go and warned the Bow Hero's party that if they come back to cause trouble, he's going to spank them all and then report them for interfereing with a mission ordered by the crown. The moment is widely considered a funny moment in- and out-of-universe, even getting Naofumi and Motoyasu to laugh together at Itsuki's expense several chapters later when the former gets his hands in a Recording Crystal with footage of the whole thing.
  • Consummate Liar: Malty, as per canon. However, a notable detail is how good of a liar she is, as when she tried to convince the Sword Hero that Motoyasu had abused her, Shirou, despite knowing that she is a liar and that Motoyasu wouldn't do that, actually felt compelled to believe her and take action against him. Shirou manages to resist, and then immediately decides out loud to cut other people some slack for believing Malty, considering how much of a Master Actress she is.
  • Continuity Nod: The Status Screen in the RPG Mechanics 'Verse he was summoned into reminds Shirou of the one in the visual novel.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Shirou is way too good at getting the most of his Legendary Weapon for someone that could barely make sense of the RPG Elements of the RPG Mechanics 'Verse he was summoned into. This turns out to be Foreshadowing of something unusual happening that made him a Cardinal Hero in the first place.
    • It's implied that Azu the Draconic Demihuman girl ending up in Shirou's party was anything but a coincidence, given how it was Fitoria who transported Shirou to Siltvelt when he was instead intending to cross the border to Shieldfreeden, starting a chain of events that ends with Fitoria herself entrusting the girl to Shirou so she won't grow into the threat to humanity that she could become. Later it was revealed that part of the reason Jian added Azu to the party was due to being pressured by Tyr.
  • Cool Old Guy: Naofumi and Motoyasu think this of Shirou in his Younger Than They Look "Mercenary Saint" disguise. The latter even calls him "Oyaji" (lit. "old man") to Shirou's chagrin.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Defied. Shirou Traces a small shield the size of a large ring that the Legendary Shield can transform into. This allows Naofumi to carry his Clingy MacGuffin by wearing it on his finger whenever he needs to hide his identity as the Shield Hero for whatever reason.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Shirou once told Jian to throw money at a weapon form to see if it does something. Jian of course didn't think it would work, and was equally stupefied that it actually did.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Takt, surprisingly. When Shirou first met him, Takt and his harem was gauged by Atla to be as strong as Firo, with the strongest member being twice as strong. Keep in mind, Firo is level 83, has numerous class-ups and growth bonuses and stat increases from various sources. Shirou estimates that to be at equal footing with Firo, the strongest member of Shirou's party stat wise, they'd have to at least be around level 300. Shirou also can't flee from fighting them without giving Faubley reason to go to war, and likewise can't straight up take them out from the same reason. But Shirou's biggest concern comes when he used Structural Analysis on Tact and his harem's armor: the armor is only a week old. The group's high level means they have to be fighting, which allows Shirou to deduce that Takt somehow knew about Shirou's ability to learn an object's history; the number of people Shirou has told that to in this world, if he told anyone about it, could be counted on one hand with fingers to spare, which makes it a mystery how Takt knew and prepare against. After discovering that Takt has multiple Vassal Weapons, he notes that Takt likely set this all up so he can steal Jian, be considered the proper Wielder and have Shirou defamed as a false Hero.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: This Shirou comes from an AU version of the True End of Heaven's Feel route where Illya survives as she didn't have to sacrifice herself to remake Shirou's body. This also left Shirou stuck with Archer's arm, but he has developed his magecraft enough that it's not longer like having a time bomb strapped to his shoulder.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • Tracing becomes this during battle. Shirou can still Project swords, but the moment he tries to use them to attack, he will get shocked by the Legendary Holy Sword. Jian was absolutely devastated and realized that she is holding him back when Shirou was forced to use Hrunting to kill off a Mutant Griffin to save Firo, having nearly killed himself in the act.
    • Using the Wrath Shield already qualifies, but Naofumi takes this Up to Eleven and tries to use it in conjunction with [Dual Wielder+] where he instead uses four Wrath Shields. Shirou notes that if he hadn't intervened, Naofumi might have actually turned into a Demon.
  • Darker and Edgier: The author takes the consequences of slavery more seriously than canon, like with the gladiator fights' damage to Fohl's mental health.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Shirou is one at times, although more often he keeps it to himself.
    • Jian is developing into one. Likely Shirou's fault, due to his constant attempts at Loophole Abuse and general teasing.
  • Demonization: The Church of the Three Heroes justify their horrible actions with the religious belief that the Shield Hero is basically The Antichrist and that everything associated to him is intrinsically evil. This is actually just historical war propaganda originally intended to demonize Melromarc's enemy Demihuman nations like Siltvelt that officially worship the Shield Hero, but in the present it's just a tool for the Corrupt Church to stay in power by perpetuating the Fantastic Racism against Demihumans. In Chapter 39, Shirou exploits this by having his Sword Hero persona declare himself their "prophesied" Anti-Christ in the most Obviously Evil way possible, and in front of as many people as possible, as part of a Zero-Approval Gambit. The interesting part is that the Church can't afford to not play along with this, as detailed in Xanatos Gambit below.
  • De-Power:
    • Early on, Shirou gets hit with this due to the Legendary Holy Sword restricting his ability to trace swords to fight. He does use Weapon Copy to give Jian access to Noble Phantasms, but all of them have high level-requirements. He can use Alteration to lower those requirements, however doing so involves removing the abilities of the Noble Phantasm, creating an entirely separate form. Jian is well aware of this.
    • Shirou is effectively banned from ever using his archery skills at all for the same reason. This is no longer the case when Jian unlocks [Create Arrow] sometime during the two week Time Skip between chapters 44 and 45. Just showing a few archery katas in the best of condition to lessen the backlash – that is, with Jian morphed into a sword-bow of sorts in a non-combat situation – was enough to injure his hand. And when he used [Dual Wielder] and Reinforcement to make Jian into a Sword/Bow and Sword/Arrow, the arrow only flies a handful of meters before it violates the Weapon's 'Distance from Wielder' limitation. Shooting Hrunting at the Mutant Griffin with deadly intent in Chapter 11 almost kills Shirou from the zapping alone.
  • Despair Event Horizon: This is a requirement to unlock the Curse Series.
    • Shirou suffers one right in the beginning, when he's told there's absolutely no way to send him back home until the Waves of Calamity are dealt with, which could take a few years at the minimum. This isn't just because that leaves him Trapped in Another World. His main concern is that the summoning ritual abducted him when Illya needed him the most, right before she was scheduled to undergo major surgery, and that's on top of her canonical abandonment issues resulting from Kiritsugu apparently walking out of her life fifteen years ago. His despair is enough to unlock the Curse Series of his Legendary Weapon, but unlike most people Shirou is already a highly functioning Broken Hero and remains as such afterwards. Although, his narration purposely avoids thinking too much about her.
    • As described in Milholland Relationship Moment, it's implied that Naofumi unlocked the Curse Series at this point in a similar fashion as canon.
    • Itsuki does not take it well at being forced to face the fact that he was hands-down the weakest Hero of the four, unlocking the Pride series out of sheer denial.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • In Chapter 3, the royal librarian apprentice that Shirou asked to teach him the basis of written language of the other world and other common knowledge was feeling pretty good about herself for making a good impression on the Sword Hero, completely unaware that her casual racism toward Demihumans – which is pretty much the norm in Melromarc – was putting him off real quick.
    • Naofumi keeps stumbling onto clues hinting that Shirou the Mercenary Saint and "Issei" the Sword Hero are actually the same guy without ever making the connection.
  • Drinking Contest: Defied. Raphtalia knows that one of Sadeena's criteria for boyfriend material includes the guy being able to hold his liquor as well as her, and thus she absolutely refuses to let Naofumi enter a Drinking Contest with her Cool Big Sis after learning that he just plain Never Gets Drunk. She ultimately fails: during the post-Wave celebration in Chapter 38, Sadeena started a Drinking Contest with Naofumi without anyone noticing by matching his unwitting pace emptying his wine. By the end of it, not only did Sadeena have to shapeshift into her orca form just to keep up with him, but even then with the increased body mass of the latter, she was still pretty sloshed by the time Naofumi finally realized that he wasn't drinking juice.
  • Dual Wielding: Using the info Shirou gave him, Naofumi successfully tests whether he can get the skill by commissioning Erhard to make twin shields with a linked identity. He upgrades it to [Dual Wielder+], allowing him to manifest additional Shields in order to defend against attacks, such as in his duel with Motoyasu.
  • Easy Amnesia: Following Rishia's Despair Event Horizon and attempted suicide, Shirou temporarily wipes her entire memory with a Traced weapon, under the rationale of letting her start over anew.
  • Empathic Weapon: Jian slowly becomes this due to continued interactions with Shirou. Gets to the point where she actually feels bad about whisking away Shirou from his loved ones.
    • This also allows Shirou to delegate a good portion of his actions, such as choosing the weapon form or upgrading forms mid-combat, to Jian. Shirou also doesn't need to say his skills anymore to use them, giving him an edge over pretty much everyone else.
    • Jian slowly becomes more capable of independent actions. Shirou registering her as a Companion leads to her unlocking the Weapon Evolution system due to getting a share of the EXP, which lets her unlock new abilities for her own use through the spending of a finite number of Points, including Telekinesis to move around and fight, not unlike a certain other sentient sword.
    • This also allows her to inform Shirou of things he might not have noticed himself, such as telling him that his Warp Whistle is being blocked or informing him that there's a Vassal Weapon inside Faubley's Church.
  • Entertainingly Wrong:
    • The Pope of the Church of the Three Heroes observes that the Sword Hero operates too much like a Shadow and arrives to the hypothesis that he was a completely amoral Professional Killer in his home world, but concludes that his Consummate Professional approach to become stronger in order to fight the Waves is more pro than con for his plans. That is, of course, before Shirou declares himself the "Demon of the Sword".
    • Naofumi guesses from the Sword Hero becoming so much stronger than the other three Cardinal Heroes by the time of Melromarc's Second Wave that "Issei" must have found himself a Mysterious Backer that is helping him with critical information and to gain EXP just like the Mercenary Saints are helping him, completely unaware that "Issei" and Shirou are the same person.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: In Chapter 30, Fitoria goes to a parallel world different from the one this story's Shirou came from to request/threaten Zelretch to not take Shirou home after realizing the magi knew each other, promising to do it herself after he fulfills his mission. The local Luvia and Rin in the room with them are about to hotly complain for letting him trapped in another world until the former realizes they aren't talking about their Shirou and promptly decide that "not her timeline, not her problem".
  • Experience Booster: A Hero's party members are blessed by World itself, which translates into a greatly increased EXP gain. In ideal conditions, at about a 10x rate. This is also the reason why the Four Heroes shouldn't train together, as more than one in a given area splits the benefits among their parties, thus stunting the Level Grinding for everybody involved. Shirou deduces that even without the prestige that comes from associating oneself with one of the Cardinal Heroes, or any cloak-and-dagger motivations, just the EXP alone is more than enough of a reason for anyone to want to be in a Cardinal Hero's party. This is the reason why the lack of volunteers to be in Naofumi's party was like a flaming red flag to Shirou's eyes, about the Kingdom of Melromarc's bias against the Shield Hero.
  • Extended Disarming: Discussed. Shirou is a bit annoyed in Chapter 23 after getting searched for concealed weapons several times in a row before meeting Queen Mirelia Q Melromarc, and considers Tracing weapons all over his body for the paranoiac guards to keep and keep finding and confiscating just to mess with them, but finally decides against it. Although he does pull out a sword which he gives to Rita for self-defense right after the meeting, freaking out one of the guards who had just finished searching him.

    Tropes F to M 
  • False Flag Operation: In Chapter 27, Shirou burns one of the three Colosseums in Zeltbull to the ground, starts an easily-suppressed fire in the second one, and makes it look like the third one had been responsible for both acts of arson. This sets the criminal enterprises behind the Gladiator Games off into a Mob War that not only weakens them further, but also all but collapses illegal slavery as a business by removing three of its biggest buyers from the market.
  • Famed in Story:
    • Each of Shirou's personas earns quite a reputation, particularly as the "Mercenary Saint" and the "Father of the Holy Bird" after releasing hundreds of slaves from the East Gate Colosseum in Zeltoble and helping them relocate in Melromarc.
    • This even becomes a battle mechanic later on when he unlocks the Title/Fame system, which gives him Perks related to his fame. For example, "Mercenary Saint" grants a sizable Charisma boost, "Father of the Holy Bird" a 6% all-stats bonus to allied Filorials, "Griffin Slayer" a small Situational Damage Attack bonus against Griffins, and "Rogue Hero" a very small bonus to Concealment.
  • Foil:
    • Tanuki and Kitsune Demihumans tend to be considered Foils of each other In-Universe, but this is specially true for Raphtalia and Rita Aselia. They are young girls that lost their families when their villages were destroyed by Melromarc's first Wave, they were sold to slavery, but fate had it that they ended up in a Cardinal Hero's party and falling in love with him. Unlike Raphtalia, Rita got really lucky because Shirou saved her and the other orphaned kids before slavers could do much more that put a Slave Seal on each of them and try to take them to the next town. Also, Rita is considerably older than her (15 years old to Raphtalia's 10), so the effects that the ordeals had on their minds is significantly different. Whereas Raphtalia latches emotionally onto Naofumi, pulling herself together until they hit a role reversal of sorts where she ends up as his main emotional support and Morality Pet, Rita's struggle is instead a philosophical and moral one. She wants to make sense of how good people with good intentions almost condemned her to sexual slavery, whereas the man that saved her and keeps on helping so many others absolutely refuses to consider himself The Hero, or even believe himself a good person at all, soon taking upon herself the mission to find a way to make Shirou like himself more.
    • Itsuki and Motoyasu. Both think they're in a game world, but they treat its residents (and by extension, their parties) differently. Itsuki merely thinks of them as intelligent NPCs, while Motoyasu genuinely grows to cares for them. They also try (and fail) to act as heroes, but Itsuki is LARPing as an "Ally of Justice", much to Shirou's irritation. Motoyasu, on the other hand, genuinely wants to be one, but is very misguided on how to go about it – Shirou, his displeasure at Motoyasu's tendencies aside, is honestly impressed by this. They also get a beating from Shirou in his mercenary disguise, but while Itsuki completely ignores everything Shirou says afterwards, Motoyasu was a good sport and listened to everything Shirou said. How they reacted when they heard of Shirou's caravan is also very different. Itsuki decides they're a threat (blatantly ignoring the obvious fact that most of them are unarmed), while Motoyasu goes for a more diplomatic (if pretty ignorant) approach. They also get recorded with their embarrassing moments. Itsuki is absolutely livid while Motoyasu is merely good-naturedly embarrassed. They also react differently to "Avenger". Itsuki panicked due to being too frightened, while Motoyasu effectively ignores it, acknowledging that while Avenger was scary, he wasn't that frightening. Motoyasu notes the former's reaction is unbecoming of a hero, though he does relent as Itsuki was the youngest. Which is another thing that they're different about, as Motoyasu is willing to admit that he was mistaken about things and own up to it, while Itsuki refuses to acknowledge he is wrong.
    • Itsuki and Shirou are diametrically opposed Deconstructions of the concept of "Ally of Justice". Itsuki is a Glory Seeker with an Inferiority Superiority Complex who deludes himself into thinking everything he does is fair and just, regardless of actual consequences, and absolutely rejects any implication to the contrary, preferring instead to surround himself with enablers who feed his delusions. Shirou is a Broken Hero who always strove to help others regardless of the consequences to himself, until his decision to save Sakura's life made him go against his ideals and currently he just can't think of himself as a hero no matter how much good he objectively does, nor how many times his allies tell him he's a good person.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Right before Shirou gets summoned to the other world, he mentions his intention to go sleep early because Rin, Sakura, and Rider will be visiting next morning and he should "get some sleep while he had the chance". It sounds like an innocuous enough remark about how things are going to get noisier with more people around, but it's later revealed that he's in a relationship with all of them and he's expecting that they won't let him sleep much.
    • Shirou is far too suitable a wielder for the Legendary Holy Sword, despite the fact he doesn't match any of the criteria of the Summon Everyman Hero ritual. It's later revealed that the Weapon itself forced the ritual to pick him because it could feel how his soul was aligned with the very concept of "Sword" itself and, in the sense of a weapon recognizing its ideal wielder and, for the lack of a better word to describe it, Love at First Sight. The incipient self-awareness later known as Jian only knew "she" had to have him and no one else.
    • The way Shirou talks about Gilgamesh implies they met, but that didn't happen in Heaven's Feel route of the visual novel despite him recurrently mentioning events from that timeline. This is one clue among many that this Shirou comes from a significantly AU version of that route.
    • While talking to Shirou and his party, Fitoria mentions terms from the Nasuverse. This did not go unnoticed by attentive readers. Sure enough, Fitoria does know someone from the Nasuverse, namely Zelretch.
    • In Chapter 36, Shirou and Yami discuss the logistic nightmare of arresting all of the extremist members of Church of the Three Heroes and replacing all their allies in the government all at once, without tipping their hand until the very last moment in order to prevent a Civil War from breaking out. Shirou suggests simplifying the problem by having "a natural disaster or a known enemy of the Church" move openly against them and their main allies, in order to both weaken their power base and as a distraction so they won't see Queen Mirellia's masterstroke coming. Problem is, the Shield Hero and the Demihuman population in general are the only candidates for the role in Melromarc, and having either or both of them do it would open entirely new cans of worms to deal with. Then comes Chapter 39, where Shirou publicly makes himself into the Church's prophesied "demon" hiding among the Four Cardinal Heroes – by notably taking characterization cues from Gilgamesh, EMIYA, Avenger, Dark Sakura, and his own "Body of Steel" – to give Queen Mirellia the unaffiliated enemy of the Church that she needed. Furthermore, his stunt also takes advantage of the Church's own prophecies about a single demon pretending to be a Cardinal Hero by giving the public a much more Obviously Evil "Demon of the Sword" to hate and fear than Naofumi, thus effectively Taking the Heat for the Shield Hero on a religious scale.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Justified. Naofumi and Motoyasu (and likely Itsuki) get hit with this due to the shock and subsequent chaos with the Sword Hero's (fake) Face–Heel Turn, that they completely forgot that they can just escape by using their Warp Whistle power. Lampshaded mentally by Motoyasu once Avenger teleports to escape, and later verbally by Naofumi, to the former's silent embarrassment. Shirou, for his part, is thankful that they actually forgot about it as it could have ruined his plan before it even started. Especially Naofumi, who would have definitely pulled off a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, completely ruining Shirou's efforts to make him look more heroic to the general public.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Shirou being the Sword Hero and his interactions with the other characters slowly derails the plot. He helps Naofumi get back on his feet, lending him his party members so he can safely raise his levels, tells him some critical information about the Legendary Shield's functions, and gives him some new shield forms, which in turn makes Naofumi stronger than he was in canon.
    • Shirou buys Firo's egg from the Slave Trader instead of Naofumi, because his sensitivity to magical energies allows him to realize one of the eggs is obviously different from the others.
    • He also helps Naofumi to get back on his feet despite the Shield Hero's seething distrust of people right after Malty/Myne's betrayal. He does this by pretending to be a mercenary hired to help the Shield Hero gain levels – which is technically true because the government of Siltvelt didn't know they were dealing with the Sword Hero in disguise – because he realized that Naofumi wouldn't believe Shirou just genuinely wanted to help him.
    • The above, plus Shirou's ability to keep himself cleverly neutral to political games without angering nobles, and the simple fact he is actually doing his job as a Hero by helping people while Level Grinding in preparation for the Waves, prompts Queen Mirelia to make contact with him to help her deal with the political clusterfrack that Aultcray created by summoning the Four Cardinal Heroes to Melromarc despite international agreements stating otherwise.
    • Shirou's intervention in the world leaders' summit in Zeltbull considerably lessened the diplomatic burdens on Queen Mirelia, freeing the latter to act in other matters. Such as orchestrating the Jail Break of several pro-Demihumans/anti-Corrupt Church Nobles who were imprisoned without a trial in the castle's dungeon, Eclair Seaetto among themnote .
    • Shirou's visit to Zeltbull lets him learn about the gladiator slaves and Fohl's ordeal trying to keep his sick little sister alive. Three guesses what Shirou does about it, and the first two don't count.
    • Shirou heals Ill Girl Atla using a replica of Avalon. As a result she falls in love with him instead of Naofumi. She and her brother Fohl join Shirou's party as a result.
    • It's later revealed that one of the other three Cardinal Heroes actually listened to one of his Properly Paranoid advices about how heroes tend to get screwed over in stories. Surprisingly, it's Motoyasu. Despite Malty/Myne's best efforts, he has yet to sleep with her thanks to Shirou's warning about how often the Woman Scorned trope tends to get heroes killed, which resonated with him a lot due to how he died in his previous life.
    • Naofumi learns about the Cursed Series prior to the first Wave in canon. Naofumi notices that he has unlocked the Wrath Series for quite a while before it was brought up. He actually welcomes it, due to how naive he was before.
    • In the same chapter, Raphtalia reunites with Sadeena and Aultcray meets Atla earlier. This has long-lasting effects on the latter, as he realizes how far he's fallen much, much earlier.
    • Chapter 40 reveals that the existence of the Noble Phantasm Hanba caused the divergence, as it was a version of Hanba from a timeline where it was one of the Divine artifacts bestowed by the War Goddess Jiutian Xuannü, rather than Hanba being a separate, unconnected Demon of drought. In this Shirou's Grail War, different from the canon Heaven's Feel, he used Hanba's curse-draining power to remove Angra Mainyu's influence from Saber (and later, the Grail itself). Due to this, Shirou and Illya didn't have to sacrifice themselves as Saber destroyed the Grail herself, as she does in the other two routes.
    • As a result of the events of Chapters 39-40, Motoyasu was informed about the existence of the Curse Series, and more tragically, it also caused Itsuki to unlock the Pride Series much sooner.
    • With Naofumi's name cleared earlier with the King admitting to the False Rape Accusation, along with Shirou's guidance, Motoyasu tries to mend his relationship with Naofumi by giving him information, including letting him know of his plan to unseal the Spirit Turtle early like what the other three heroes did in canon. Due to this, Naofumi makes the reasonable suggestion of telling other people, especially Shirou, first before doing it if they actually have to do it, and in a way that doesn't bite them in the ass.
  • Genghis Gambit: As part of his Zero-Approval Gambit in Chapter 39 to destroy the Corrupt Church, Shirou makes himself to be a common enemy for the other three Cardinal Heroes to unite against in preparation for the actual challenges ahead of them. He uses the (fake) fight against them in Chapter 40 as a practical lesson by basically kicking their asses six ways to Sunday until they started to actually work together.
  • Genre Savvy: The Summon Everyman Hero ritual specifically picks people with knowledge of videogames, light novels, and manga in order to make their transition to a fantasy world and RPG Mechanics 'Verse easier. Shirou is the odd one out as a complete Noob at them, but his fascination with heroic myths and legends makes him a different sort of Genre Savvy: one fully aware of how heroes tend to get screwed over rather than defeated.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Once Shirou arrives in Faubley, while he is a bit surprised to see modern cars in this world, he didn't think too much of it until Yami tells him that they are relatively new, having been created in the last decade and that there have been technological advancements in the last 20 years from a supposed Child Prodigy Prince named Takt. Shirou immediately tells his party gear up as he knows this isn't normal.
  • Gladiator Games:
    • Shirou is disgusted by the very existence of the Colosseums in Zeltbull (and yes, that's a plural), where around fifty people lose their lives daily. Worse, Shirou arrives just in time to for a Beastly Bloodsports match between a group of unarmed gladiator slaves and two massive Griffins where the public gets to bet on who and how many of them will be left alive after it's all over. When Shirou hears the so-called "Griffin Run" event allows Audience Participation, he jumps into the arena just so he can kill the two beasts and prevent the thing from happening again.
    • Also a Exploited Trope. Shirou is enough of a Pragmatic Hero to take advantage of the massive "sport" betting surrounding the event by having Rita gamble their savings on that no one will die, an outcome with such astronomical low odds of happening that it pays over 3,000-to-1 after she places their bet. Once Shirou delivers just as promised, he's left with enough gold coins to "fill an eight-person jacuzzi".
  • God in Human Form: Discussed. Motoyasu directly asks the Mercenary Saint whether he's this. Shirou bursts into laughter after a second of surprised silence, and Naofumi gives Motoyasu a look and calls him stupid. It turns out the Spear Hero was trying to make sense of Shirou with Isekai logic and arrived to the hypothesis that he could be a god-like character and missed the mark by a mile. Shirou takes this as his cue to tell them his Metaphorically True Back Story, but not without taking a second to say A God, I Am Not just in case.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Yami sees Queen Mirellia deciding to request the assistance of a Wild Card like the Sword Hero in international negotiations as proof of how damn bad they were going. Her gamble pays off handsomely, though.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Shirou's Evil All Along Xanatos Gambit was intended partly as a wake-up call to the other heroes. One of the thigs he did was release a Killing Intent strong enough to scare off most people, which he expected the heroes can handle. Naofumi and Motoyasu, although very scared, managed to retain their wits to act. Itsuki, however, suffered a Heroic BSoD and unlocked the Curse Series as a result.
  • Great Escape: Shirou pulls off the Medieval European Fantasy equivalent of this in Chapter 37, as in breaking into a castle's dungeon, disabling the magical alarms, dishing Non-Lethal K.O.'s to the armored guards before they could alert anyone, dispelling the Slave Seals used in lieu of Explosive Leashes to keep the prisoners from trying to escape on their own, and then using Jian's Warp Whistle to teleport them all to a secure location. He released Eclair Seaetto and several other pro-Demihuman/anti-Corrupt Church Nobles that remained imprisoned without a trial in the Royal Castle's dungeon on Queen Mirellia's request, as a preparative step to outlawing the Church of the Three Heroes.
  • Harem Seeker:
    • Discussed subversion. Motoyasu considers it a damn shame how "Oyaji" (Motoyasu's nickname for Shirou's "Mercenary Saint" identity) surrounds himself with beauties and yet he treats them all like he's their adoptive father.
    • Deconstructed with the Bow Hero. Itsuki's narration reveals that he thought of Rishia as the "first girl" in his potential harem, but soon changed his mind because he's too self-centered to put in any effort for her sake after saving her the first time, something he only did to make himself feel like an "Ally of Justice" rather than out of any real concern for her.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Malty, of course.
    • Itsuki. In fact, even the author doesn't like writing him and had to take a break after writing a chapter focusing on him, which only increased the readers' dislike of him.
  • Hero-Worshipper:
    • The Church of the Three Heroes' Shadows end up becoming this for Shirou due to him escaping their watch twice, turning the tables and capturing them, and being able to tell each of them apart. One of the Queen's Shadows, who Shirou nicknamed Yami, is exasperated for the same reason.
    • The caravan full of slaves that Shirou saved also become one for him.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: How Jian's Character Development actually happened. Late into The Rising of the Shield Hero, it's revealed that there is a Divine Spirit at the core of each of the Four Holy Weapons. Shirou unwittingly imprinted this spirit with the basis of a human personality when he used the Weapon Copy function on Bakuya, a Noble Phantasm carrying a deep connection to the self-sacrificing swordsmith wife of the myth of Gan Jiang and Mo Ye. From there, Shirou kept nurturing her self-awareness by treating her as a Companion Cube of sorts and conversation partner in the time between his summoning and getting his first party member, and then just kept talking to her because she learned how to use the help message pop-ups to obliquely answer back. By the time of the second Wave, Jian has grown into a person of her own with a distinct personality, goals, and fears.
  • Identical Stranger: When Shirou firsts sees Queen Mirellia, he is shocked and does a Double Take that everyone picks up on because she looks a lot like Rider in a fancy period dress. This hits him especially hard for a second because he was dating Rider before getting summoned into another world against his will.
  • Identity Impersonator: In Chapter 40, Shirou needed his two main identities to be in the same place at the same time, so he gets Yami to disguise herself as one of them.
  • Impossible Theft: What happens when you give Shirou Emiya access to Hammerspace, a Warp Whistle, magical disguises, and above all a motive to want to rob an Asshole Victim blind, as seen in Chapter 27.
  • Incest Subtext: Shirou remembers Rin saying that his harem in his home world is actually hers. Given that they come from the True End of the Heaven's Feel route rather than the Good End of Unlimited Blade Works, this would imply Rin sees Sakura as a lover on some level.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Melty and Firo slept in the same single Lion-themed pyjamas, wearing nothing underneath as they complained about it being too hot with clothes. They also ignored Rita when she tried to explain why they shouldn't be sleeping naked with each other in the same bed, as they didn't understand.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Shirou is well aware that heroes of myth tend to meet tragic ends and warns the other three Legendary Heroes to be careful of women, accepting impossible tasks, other heroes, and politics in increasing order of likelihood. Sadly, Naofumi doesn't take heed until too late.
    • Also a Double Subversion. Malty initially planned on hooking up with Shirou instead of Motoyasu, because she liked him better and predicted that he would potentially make a much more useful king-consort in the long run than either the Bow or the Spear Hero. Unfortunately for her, Shirou skips town alone before she can make her move and even manages to lose the Church's Shadows assigned to follow him covertly, leaving her with no other option than going for her Plan B, the canon one with Motoyasu.
    • Naofumi still unlocks the Shield of Wrath, but at least gets an early warning from Shirou to not let it influence his thoughts.
    • Despite being a lot better prepared for his first Wave than in canon, Naofumi still fails to save Lute Village due to the large AOE fire spell that the kingdom's knights used in an attempt to kill him via Unfriendly Fire. On the bright side, it's later confirmed that no one died, as Naofumi's party arrived much faster thanks to Firo.
    • The duel between Naofumi and Motoyasu during the party still happens, although they're more evenly matched as a result of Shirou's actions.
    • Itsuki still unlocks the Pride Series.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: When Shirou tells Firo to choose whatever she wants for Class Up in Chapter 18.
    David: Are you sure that is wise?
    Shirou: Firo's instincts as a Filolial Queen are better than you would believe. I trust that whatever decision she makes will be better for her than anything I could pick.
    Firo: Alright, Firo will pick the one that spits poison!
    Shirou: ...I've made a mistake.
  • In the Back: In Chapter 39, "Issei" non-lethally stabs Motoyasu in the back after he loses his duel against Naofumi, all in order to sell his Zero-Approval Gambit.
  • Just Here for the Free Snacks: In Chapter 39, Firo and Azu don't bother going to the arena to watch the duel between Naofumi and Motoyasu. They have a buffet to take care of.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero:
    • Shirou is a stupidly successful example of this trope and Karmic Thief. In Chapter 27, he robbed the East Gate Colosseum blind, as in he made Jian absorb everything of value in there, from all the gold coins in their massive vault, down to the stuff bolted down in place, dished Non-Lethal K.O. to every guard and slaver in there, robbed them down to their undies, and tied them down at safe distance just so they could see their bloody livelihood burn down to the ground. By the end of it, his loot amounted to a little over a million gold coins. For reference, 4,000 gold is more than enough money to pay for a mansion, meaning that likely there's more liquid assets in Jian's Hammerspace than in Melromarc's treasury.
    • The stunt above also ended up unlocking the [Treasury Sword], which allows Jian to turn storage items directly into money. This means that Shirou now has the option to be an even more effective Kleptomaniac Hero by removing the necessity of finding someone willing to buy stolen goods, however he mostly uses it to process his stuff without leaving an obvious track of his activities in the form of merchants wondering where the heck "those ten tons of monster pelts" came from.
  • Level-Locked Loot:
    • A constant problem for Shirou. On top of being unable to wield anything other than his Legendary Holy Sword, he can't just Weapon Copy her into the best swords in his Unlimited Blade Works because he still needs to meet their "equip requirement" according to the rules of the RPG Mechanics 'Verse he was summoned into. For example, Black Keys have a Level Requirement of 52 and a "mere" Rank-C Noble Phantasm like Kanshou and Bakuya clock at 87. For reference, only about 1% of career combatants are over level 40 and only a handful have ever hit the level-100 cap.
    • This get even worse when Shirou discovers the Skill Point system can upgrade his Tracing and Alteration Magecraft. He initially refuses to upgrade them before Jian does so anyway, as by upgrading them he decreases the degradation his Projections and Alterations suffer. While this doesn't sound bad on paper, it becomes bad when he realises that it would cause the Level Requirements for his Weapon Copied Swords to go up 20 Levels. Meaning that just to use Kanshou and Bakuya, initially C- ranked Noble Phantasms measured at level 87, would mean he have to get to level 107 to use them, with no mention to Levels needed for the higher ranked Weapons he has.
  • Loophole Abuse: Shirou strongly disagrees with the rule forbidding the Cardinal Heroes from wielding other weapons, and constantly tests its exact limits.
    • Shirou's discovered that he can Trace a weapon and hold them just fine, but the ban comes into effect the moment he tries to do anything more than that with them. He can also have Jian morph into any one of them after letting his Legendary Weapon copy them, but he has to fulfill each new form's requirement before wielding it or using their special skills, which still locks him out of most of the best weapons in Unlimited Blade Works.
    • For an obvious loophole, Shirou can easily arm other people with his Projections. Made easier because they aren't doomed to disappear after a short while due to the skill of his Tracing. The problem was, of course, finding people he can trust with them at first.
    • Also the definition of "wielding" allows some leeway. For example, Tracing a sword in the middle of the air and letting it fall doesn't count as wielding it, therefore Tracing blades en masse and letting them rain on his enemies is a valid tactic. Shirou even unlocks the [One Hundred Sword] skill ahead of canon and then improves on it by replacing the magical sword-shaped projectiles with actual blades. His version of the skill more expensive, however, especially the [One Thousand Swords] variant and above, requiring him to use his Od to supplement their massive SP costs.
    • The "no wield" rule obviously makes an exception for Shirou's own body which could be considered another weapon otherwise due to his Origin. Shirou takes advantage of this by making blades grow out of his body in a low-key application of his Body of Steel — a dangerous side effect of his trademark Magecraft that either killed him or helped him survive in the source material depending on the route. This trick is painful and completely useless in a real battle, but it's worth the hassle to bypass the restriction for blades with useful non-combat effects, like Rule Breaker.
    • The Legendary Weapons are normally limited to copying other weapons that are in the same category, however the exact boundaries of a weapons category is a fuzzy thing. Shirou is intimately aware of this because his magecraft is highly specific to the concept of "Sword", so he got really good at using it in creative ways. For example, the Legendary Holy Sword can copy a Traced bow with bladed limbs that can shoot arrows and be used as a sword in a pinch, with the caveat that it's a degraded copy unlike with normal swords. Jian, on her part, doesn't mind and is rather proud about how great her Hero is in comparison.
    • Naofumi got wind of the Hybrid Weapon Loophole Abuse, getting himself the Steel Blade Shield and Flail Shield, although he failed to get much out of the latter because it takes a lot of practice to use a weapon like that effectively. Downplayed with Motoyasu who learned to appreciate hybrid types of spears such as a halberd which can be used as an axe.
  • Magikarp Power: The Four Legendary Weapons. Thanks to his affinity with blades, Shirou figures out this right after glancing at his own, but his main beef with it is the rule forbidding the Four Heroes from wielding anything else, effectively depriving him from most of his arsenal in Unlimited Blade Works and his exceptional prowess with the bow until Jian unlocks [Create Arrow].
  • Master Actor: Malty natch. Her manipulative acting ability is so great in fact that Shirou almost bought in to it despite knowing her personality and it's only because of said knowledge that he was able to overcome it.
  • Metaphorically True:
    • When Shirou, as the Mercenary Saint, tells Naofumi, Motoyasu and everyone else present about his past in Chapter 41, he gives them his actual Backstory in a Write What You Know kinda way where he only changes a few names to make the whole tale fit. That is, he tells them how he almost died as a child in a "monster attack" (actually the Fuyuki Fire) that took the lives of his parents and made him lose his memories prior to the incident, when "Fitoria" (actually Kiritsugu) rescued him and placed a powerful and ancient sword-aligned magical artifact in his body. The artifact turned out to be "a previous version of the Legendary Holy Sword" (actually Avalon) preserved into modern times, which mixed with his singular magical constitution and gave him a unique brand of sword-aligned magic that after years of self-training (well, more like cribbing from his future self), it became the Spontaneous Weapon Creation magic that he has today.
    • Similarly, Shirou explains away the "Avenger" Naofumi and Motoyasu know with the Back Story of their namesake from the visual novels. That is, the "Legendary Holy Weapon" system (actually the Grail) was corrupted by the death of a "hero" (Servant) that participated in a previous iteration of the "fight against the Waves of Calamity" (actually, the Holy Grail War). This participant was "Avenger" and his connection to the system irremediably corrupted it, creating a number of anomalies such as the "Curse Series" (actually stuff like being able summon anti-hero and turning the wish-granting system into a Jackass Genie).
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: Invoked by Shirou in Chapter 21. The "Mercenary Saint" offers Raphtalia to free her from her Slave Seal while warning her that Naofumi's current mental state is such that he definitely won't accept her by his side if she's not his slave. For Naofumi, the decision is a no-brainer and begins to hate Shirou in impotent rage for taking his only ally away from him, and so he's completely stupefied when Raphtalia turns down her chance for freedom in order to stay with him. Then Naofumi notices that Shirou isn't surprised at all by the outcome, realizing that the Mercenary Saint just pulled off a Cruel to Be Kind stunt on him just to prove to him that Raphtalia is genuinely loyal to him out of her own will.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Due to the superficial similarity with the Servant summoning system and the fact he was chosen of all people to become one of the Cardinal Heroes, Shirou just assumed that Motoyasu and Itsuki were roughly as badass as himself and just hiding it because that was the Properly Paranoid thing to do. He also pegged Naofumi as the "Shirou" of the group, that is, the regular guy who had absolute no business getting himself involved is such a dangerous conflict, but was chosen by the ritual for some reason.
  • Mob War: One sparks off-screen after the events of Chapter 27 between the crime families associated to the North and West Gate Colosseums. This is the result of a False Flag Operation by Shirou to have one each finish off the other after he burns the East Gate Colosseum to the ground (not without robbing them blind beforehand, though) in an attempt to destroy Gladiator Games as a business and protect an untold number of slaves from dying horribly in them.
  • Morton's Fork: Upon arriving in Faubley temple, Shirou decides to have a meeting disguised as an early lunch to discuss what to do. Shirou says that's there's a high chance they'll get into a fight once they enter the temple where the Dragon Hourglass is kept as he detected powerful presences inside the building. When prompted, he says they can leave now and risk Faubley declaring war on them, or confront the people waiting inside and risk Faubley declaring war on them, with the difference that the latter would make Faubley rethink about declaring war if they win. Eclair asks if they can Take a Third Option, but Azu interrupts before Shirou could say what was in his mind by saying that she feels the presence of Dragon Core Fragments inside while being visibly angrynote . Fitoria helpfully informs him (via Firo) that she'll do it herself and be disappointed in him if he doesn't destroy those fragments now, forcing him to confront them unless he wants to earn the ire of the Filorial God, not to mention Jian seems to be pissed off herself at how one of her Vassal Weapons seem to be used by an unworthy wielder and wants it back, consequences be damned.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Discussed. When Shirou was still comparing the Cardinal Heroes to Servants, he considers preventively killing Motoyasu and Itsuki to protect the world from them after identifying some very bad personality traits in them. Having to deal with one utterly self-centered Hero in Gilgamesh was more than enough to last Shirou a lifetime.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: Marble Phantasms and Reality Marbles work under diametrically opposed principles — the former by perfectly playing along the world's rules to invoke a given phenomenon, the latter by superimposing the world's rules with the caster's own. This is the reason why Shirou is very ill-suited for Dragon Pulse Order, as it is functionally similar to a Marble Phantasm. As Chapter 38 reveals, this would not stop Jian from learning and using Dragon Pulse Order herself.
  • Mystery Meat: As a RPG Element. Shirou's Legendary Weapon comes with a built-in "cook function" that absorbs the bodies of the monsters he defeats and processes them into perfectly edible if a bit bland meat he can store indefinitely in Hammerspace, but he's concerned by the fact that, no matter what he puts in, the result has always the same taste. Partially Defied because Shirou is leery of throwing truly disgusting stuff into the cooking function, but he can't deny its usefulness when it comes to keep Firo fed without going bankrupt or providing emergency rations for starving villages in dire straits because of the Waves.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Just like the canonical Sword Hero, Shirou is the first to notice the Status Menu out of the Four Heroes. For a bit of ironic humor, this is due to the exact opposite reason. Ren was familiar with Sword Art Online-level VR games in his home world, and immediately noticed the unobtrusive open menu icon in the corner of his vision. Shirou is a complete Noob and just saw the icon and was all like "what the heck is that?", which opened the menu.
    • One of Shirou's alias was "Kiritsugu". A former gladiator, who found it too long to say, shortened it to "Kerry", the exact same nickname used by Shirley in Fate/Zero.
    • Shirou lends Azu a "harp that looked strangely like a bow" so she could play for an impromptu dance. The instrument is later confirmed to be Failnaught, Sir Tristan's Noble Phantom, as seen in Fate/Grand Order.
    • Like canon, Firo wanted to choose a class up that lets her spit poison but was overruled by Fitoria. Come Chapter 33 and we're introduced to Midori, who is part of a rare breed of Filorial that can spit poison from the very beginning with the caveat of having weaker lower body strength.

    Tropes N to S 
  • Nerf: A non-videogame example. Shirou can make less powerful versions of Noble Phantasms (more like shoddy copies, really) but with lowered equip requirement that he can actually use. This is usually not worth the effort, especially because they're generally inferior compared to the best weaponry available to him at his current level, but if he manages to make his knockoffs flawed in just the right way, they will still have a portion or a lesser version of their special effects much earlier than what it'd take him to unlock the real thing.
  • Never Gets Drunk:
    • Naofumi can really hold his liquor to the point that he doesn't even notice he was drinking alcohol until someone tells him. When that happened during the celebration after his first Wave, Sadeena tried to match him drink by drink only to end up completely wasted.
    • Shirou too, but only when he's using an alchemic trick (read: cheating) to keep himself sober by getting rid of the alcohol content in the booze before it can affect him.
  • New Life in Another World Bonus: Played With. While Shirou realizes that the Legendary Sword is an amazing Construct that one day could become incredibly powerful, in the short term it just sucks. Worse, it's a Clingy MacGuffin that won't let him wield any weapon other than itself, effectively locking him out from his remarkable archery skills until sometime after Chapter 44 and his own Projections. For that matter, while its Weapon Copy function allows it to transform into any one of his swords for free, it's always just one sword (or set for paired weapons) at a time and Shirou has to unlock the requirements first, videogame-style. This is a very bad thing because most of the good stuff stored in Unlimited Blade Works has insane equip requirement fitting of their legendary status. Although, later on Shirou does manage to test the limits of "no wield" rule through trial-and-error, creative Loophole Abuse, and sheer stubbornness.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Invoked at multiple levels in Chapters 40. When Shirou pretends to have a Face–Heel Turn into the prophesied "Demon of the Sword", he takes advantage of his fight against the other three Cardinal Heroes – one mostly intended to sell his Zero-Approval Gambit better and give people reasonable doubts about the whole "Shield Demon" thing – to try to help them fix several of their problems. To wit:
    • "Avenger" gives a (fake) Motive Rant about getting back to the world that betrayed him so long ago, to make himself into a living cautionary tale for Naofumi about the kind of demon he could become if he lets his hate and anger control him.
    • He made Itsuki and Motoyasu's fair-weather party members show their true colors by scaring them into abandoning them, with only Rishia and Naofumi's companions proving to be loyal enough to stand by their Hero's side when the chips are down.
    • The fight also allowed its participants to make a better impression of themselves on each other and to the public at large. For example, Motoyasu proved that his heart is in the right place, especially to Naofumi, by Taking the Bullet for Raphtalia and Midori, and showed a surprising amount of tactical awareness during the fight itself. Naofumi showed his heroic side to everybody by fighting against "Avenger" to a great personal risk, on top for proving his Shield to be of critical in battles against foes way above the Heroes' weight class.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Shirou's reaction when an alchemist in Siltvelt asked him for a sperm donation it order to find out why Cardinal Heroes can produce healthy offspring with any other species, something that only dragons are known to be able to do.
  • No-Sell:
    • The way magi move prana within their bodies incidentally gives them some level of resistance to foreign magical energies trying to affect them, which also applies to spells from the other world's magic system.
    • Naofumi gets a special mention during his duel with Motoyasu, as due to his higher level, enhancements, and Shirou opening his Magic Circuits, any spells that sabotaged him in the canon-version of the fight are completely negated.
  • Not Disabled In VR: Illya gets hooked on a suspiciously advanced VR MMORPG as a way move around and meet new people after her deteriorating health started to make it hard for her to even leave her bed.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: An author's note states that Cardinal Heroes don't have to deal with the Level Cap at 40. This is canon according to the both the web-novel (chapter 45) and Light Novel series (volume 3) where it's stated that "There are no limitations on the growth potential of a Hero", but it's a point that confuses the fandom because it wasn't that clear in the anime and manga because they lack most of Naofumi's inner dialogue.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Subverted. By the time Shirou catches Rishia Ivyred from falling to her death, she's already past the point where the deceleration necessary to stop her fall in time would kill her as readily as hitting the ground. Shirou gets around this by having Jian teleport them over a body of water to cushion their fall. Even then, not even the deep waterfall pool had enough depth to break their fall before Shirou hit his back on its rocky bottom, but covering Rishia with his Reinforced body allowed them both to live to tell the tale.
  • Odd Friendship: Azu and Firo due to the fact that their race dislikes each other. After trying to compete against each other during their first meeting, they slowly bonded off-screen. Being children likely helped as their instinctual hate for each other hasn't developed yet.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: In Chapter 25, Shirou basically tells the world leaders to stop pushing for war until the Waves are dealt with, or he will simply do nothing and leave the Waves deal with them. After all, their armies will be too busy protecting their own countries from monsters falling from the sky to have much of a chance of fighting a war too.
  • Off the Rails: Shirou worries that Naofumi winning the duel against Motoyasu in Chapter 39 will cause the Church of the Three Heroes to try and kill him and his party, so he decides to take the heat and become the Demon of the Sword. Absolutely no one expected this In- or Out-of-Universe except for the Queen, King, and Yami, who were informed beforehand as part of a plan to overthrow the church.
  • Oh, Crap!: Naofumi in Chapter 39 when he sees the Sword Hero transform into the "Demon of the Sword" given that he has got no idea that the latter is faking it.
  • Original Character:
    • Rita Aselia is a 15-year old kitsune Demihuman girl that joined Shirou's party in Chapter 8 because she insisted in helping him to protect a group of children that he rescued from slavers as the oldest of the bunch. In many ways she's a Foil to Raphtalia as seen in the relevant entry above.
    • Azu is an 8-year-old Demihuman girl and a Draconic Humanoid. Shirou meets her and her grandfather when he arrives to Siltvelt in order to save a group of Demihuman kids from slavery in Melromarc. She's the daughter of a pure-blooded dragon called Tyr who was revered as a Dragon God by the Aotatsu clan, and inherited much of his power, consciousness, and even more worryingly, the purpose of the original Dragon Emperor as one of Four Sacred Beasts intended to cull and potentially exterminate sentient life should the need arise. Fitoria attempts to kill her on the spot for it, but after Firo passes her test, she trusts Azu's development to Shirou, thus making the girl his third traveling companion (fourth, if you count Jian).
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • "Issei" the Sword Hero overshadowed the other Cardinal Heroes in Melromarc's Second Wave so badly that you would need searchlights and a pack of bloodhounds to find them. Princess Malty in particular was so impressed by him almost singlehandedly defeating the Wave – as in Wave itself, not merely the Wave Boss – that she tried to ditch Motoyasu and backstab her way into his party, but Shirou would have none of it.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: To the public eye, the Sword Hero is by far the strongest of the Four Cardinal Heroes, capable of fighting a Wave on his own – as in the entire Wave, not just the Wave Boss – while remaining the least problematic of the bunch. Cue Mass "Oh, Crap!" across Melromarc when the guy declares himself the prophesied "Demon" disguised as a Hero the next day after the Wave near Lute Village. Shirou is just pretending, of course, but damn if he doesn't put on a convincing act.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Motoyasu falls to the ground after Avenger leaves.
  • Power at a Price: The Cursed Series
    • Shirou's Sword of Sloth drains the will of himself and everyone around him if he uses it. He does note that he might unlock some useful abilities if he uses it (which Naofumi shows in canon with his Wrath Shield), but Shirou isn't keen on testing it out. Not that he needs it. It turns out that it affects him even if he doesn't use it, by subtly shifting his opinions and ideas, almost causing him to develop a Bystander Syndrome. Thankfully he caught onto it.
    • Naofumi's Shield of Wrath, even while not using it affects his thoughts. He doesn't mind but makes it a point to only direct that rage toward those who actually deserve it.
    • The Pride Series inflates the hero's ego and pride as a passive effect and has the ability to Mind Control others at the cost of draining the user's empathy, pride and will. Itsuki unlocks it at the end of Chapter 41.
  • Precision F-Strike:
  • Properly Paranoid: Naofumi becomes this after the False Rape Accusation leveled against him, which gives him a slightly better after-the-fact impression of the Sword Hero due to their shared paranoia. This is also Deconstructed; as ironic as it sounds, Shirou under a disguise had to come up with elaborate lies to convince Naofumi that his actually genuine attempts to help him were self-serving plans that just happened to benefit the Shield Hero in order for him to accept them.
  • Rapid Aging:
    • A Demihuman's apparent age depends on their Level and not just their actual age. This is especially noticeable when they are in a Cardinal Hero's party due to their Experience Booster skills and blessings. This is why Rita looked like a 17-year-old despite being only 15 after four days of training under Shirou, before her apparent age stabilized at 19 after two weeks or so.
    • Azu's case is a lot more extreme. Shirou forgot Jian added her to his party as a joke before their first Wave caught them right were they stood. The massive amount of Leaked Experience that she got from him and Jian fighting the Wave monsters on their own made Azu go from Level 5 to hit the Level Cap at 40. This is also a bit Deconstructed, because her body barely managed to keep up with the extreme Level gain, and over a few feverish nights she grew from an 8-year-old little girl to a mature-looking woman that could easily pass off as 23 or so. Her mind is another issue, as she lacks the life experiences of a woman of her apparent age. For example, she and Firo panicked when she got her first period, and she has no idea the effect her voluptuous body can have on a guy, which is only mitigated by the fact Azu was a quiet girl who kept to herself to begin with.
  • Reality Warper:
    • Shirou is a limited example of this due to Unlimited Blade Works.
    • Fitoria is so old and powerful that she's not just this only out of a technicality, being able to warp time and space at will. Enough to say she's on a First-Name Basis with Zelretch who placates her with cake.
  • Restraining Bolt: A Cardinal Hero can only wield his Legendary Weapon, and will get zapped with something similar to electric shocks if they attempt to do so anyway. This is why the Shield Hero needed companions to defeat anything stronger than The Goomba, and for Shirou this means a permanent ban on his archery skills, and a theoretically temporary one on every sword in Unlimited Blade Works as most of the best swords in there are literally the stuff of legends and have insane equip requirement to match under the RPG Elements of the local RPG Mechanics 'Verse. Being a Determinator with years of very painful improper magic self-training under his belt has made Shirou capable remaining functional when going against the rule. However, this remains a Dangerous Forbidden Technique because the strength of the shocks is proportional to the fault, and the backlash from something like shooting Hrunting with a bow in actual battle almost killed him.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Homophonous misspelling such as "were/where" or "its/it's" are relatively common in the story. The author openly admits to his dyslexia, after all.
  • Running Gag:
    • Shirou recognizing Yami in whatever disguise she's currently wearing, to her utter frustration.
    • People treating Shirou's Mercenary Saint persona as a middle-aged man due to his white-haired disguise and the way he treats his party members as his kids.
    • All his party members being Big Eaters. Even his Legendary Weapon counts, albeit not in the same way.
    • Shirou getting shocked by his own weapon for being a smartass at her expense. Jian has even learned to tell when he's being a First-Person Smartass.
    • Whenever someone says something happened to King Aultcray, Naofumi always asks "Is he dead?" without even bothering to hide his hope that that's really the case.
  • Second Super-Identity:
    • Shirou shifts mainly between his Sword Hero and Mercenary Saint identities, with the twist that the former has his actual appearance with a false utterly pragmatic personality and later as the Ax-Crazy Demon of the Sword, and he behaves more like himself when disguised as the latter.
    • Later this becomes a bit more complex. The heads of state of the other world (sans King Aultcray) are told that both men are actually one and the same, but Shirou leads them to believe that the Sword Hero persona is the real one and that the Mercenary Saint is just a convenient public identity. Among them, only Queen Mirellia is aware of how Shirou is actually like.
    • Shirou also resorts to one-off identities when doing stuff he can't have associated to any of the main ones. For example, he made a ton of money fighting in the Colosseum under the name of "Kiritsugu", earning the epithet "Griffin Slayer".
  • Sherlock Scan: A magical variant. Shirou's affinity with swords allows him to "read the history" of someone's sword, and through it, get a pretty good idea of what kind of person its wielder is. This didn't do much for him in his home world because almost no one carries blades on them at all times, but in a Medieval European Fantasy/RPG Mechanics 'Verse, his Sword-aligned senses may as well be clairvoyance. Of course, this doesn't work if the person in question just acquired his or her blade, or just isn't carrying any at the time, as was the case with "Myne" in the initial chapters.
  • Shoot the Mage First: When considering killing his summoners and make a break for it at the beginning of the story before deciding against it, Shirou makes a mental note of the magic users in sight in order to target them first and then go for the soldiers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Motoyasu sees Shirou's "Oyaji" persona as this world's version of Master Roshi, someone who teaches the Heroes humility and then ways to get stronger so that the Heroes will look even better once they surpass him.
    • Word of God explicitly states that the "Weapon Evolution" Enhancement Method is lifted from I Was A Sword When I Reincarnated. It is slightly modified, however, compared to the original; Jian gains EXP just from killing enemies and not from stabbing Monster Cores, as Monster Cores aren't a thing in Shield Hero. Likewise, Skills can't be taken from enemy Monster Cores as, again, they don't exist. As such, Skills can only be gotten whenever Jian levels up, after which a number of points are given based on her Level, like in the original source, which can be used to purchase things from a growing selection of Skills.
  • Slave Liberation: Type 2. Shirou in his Mercenary Saint persona buys the freedom of a lot of gladiator slaves in Chapter 26 with his sizeable earnings from basically betting all his money on himself in his brief Gladiator Subquest. And by "a lot", we mean the thousands of slaves that the East Gate Colosseum had in stock, including Atla and Fohl.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Subverted with Atla's illness. Shirou figures out that the human half of her family tree comes from a summoned hero of a magus bloodline, and that she was Blessed with Suck by being born with Magic Circuits as an atavistic genetic trait. Having no knowledge of what lies in her body, much less how to use them, the magical energies leaking from her Circuits slowly and painfully broke havoc in her system much like poison, providing a medical enigma that nobody but a magus could have ever solved. No wonder it took Naofumi giving her a continued treatment on the healing potion equivalent of a nuke to cure her in canon.
  • Stealth Expert:
    • Hilariously Inverted. Shirou gets a kick out of messing with various Stealth Experts' heads by effortlessly seeing through their disguises and concealments, and even telling apart a perfectly nondescript agent from the other. The Shadows are so impressed by his skill at their own craft that they talk about the Sword Hero like he's the patron saint of all things stealthy, but there's a trick to it. Shirou has a sixth sense for blades that allows him to perceive someone's sword and some of its history even when it's out of sight. He doesn't get nearly as much information on a given sword compared to directly seeing or touching it, but sensing a bladed weapon's presence when there should be none is a telltale sign of potential trouble in his supernatural perception.
    • Shirou can play the trope straight too. After some experimentation Nerfing Noble Phantasms so Jian can copy a degraded versions of them with lowered equip requirements, Shirou managed to produce a knockoff of Carnwennan – King Arthur's dagger in the Welsh tradition – that retains some of its Presence Concealment properties. While far from true invisibility, it's more than enough to make professional Stealth Experts lose track of him if he times its activation properly.
  • Stealth Insult: One can't help but wonder if Shirou was making a point to Itsuki in the first Wave the Four Heroes fought together by mass sniping the remaining thousands of monsters from a strategically advantageous distance and height like an archer should, instead of wasting time trying to look cool by charging headfirst to the Boss.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Naofumi gets himself Mix-and-Match Weapon forms for his Legendary Shield that finally allows him to attack, such as the [Steel Blade Shield] that hides a retractable blade and the self-explicatory [Flail Shield]. However, using them effectively in battle requires boring mundane training as he gets no RPG shortcuts when it comes to weaponry outside his Fantasy Character Class.
    • Shirou's plan in Chapter 40 amounts to fighting several opponents at the same time on his own that aren't aware he's not actually trying to hurt them, and then have his secret allies pull a fake Big Damn Heroes and "drive him away" with a powerful pre-agreed attack that he knows how to tank. However, there were just too many moving parts to it and Shirou was forced to think on his feet to keep the plan on track. To wit: Motoyasu managed to recover from his Non-Lethal K.O. before the battle ended. Itsuki wasn't supposed to have a panic attack and Rishia's resulting and stupidly brave Go Through Me moment almost made Shirou break character. The King also took longer than expected to enter the fray because of buffing Yami to the point where she could pass off as the Mercenary Saint for an Identity Impersonator trick, thus allowing more time to pass for something to go wrong. Such as Naofumi using his Shield of Wrath, not only unleashing cursed fire that Shirou had to take care of, but also undermining his efforts to change the bad rep that the Shield Hero gets.

    Tropes T to Z 
  • Taking the Bullet: In Chapter 40, Motoyasu got in Raphtalia and Midori's way when they tried to approach Naofumi when the latter used his Shield of Wrath, protecting them from the tainted flames with his own body and suffering the curse in their place.
  • The Talk: Keel, due to being Raised as the Opposite Gender, had to be explained the differences between boys and girls by Sadeena, of all people. It gave them a Thousand-Yard Stare that lasted around five minutes before apparently managing to purge the memory out of their brain.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In Chapter 40, Naofumi and Motoyasu find themselves in one. For all their dislike for each other's guts, they actually work pretty well together. Too bad their enemy is the Hero of the Sword.
  • Themed Aliases: Shirou uses the names from people from his world as aliases in the new one. For example, the current Sword Hero is known as "Fugimaru Issei", "Kiritsugu"/"Kerry" when disguised as a down-on-his-luck mercenary-turned-gladiator for a day, and Shirou Emiya as the Hakuko demi-human also known as the "Mercenary Saint of the Holy Bird".
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Just like canon, Motoyasu challenges Naofumi to a duel by throwing his glove to the ground. Unlike canon, Naofumi accepts it willingly since he knows he can fight back, much to Shirou's chagrin.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Discussed. Shirou is surprised by the lack of control mechanisms, like Command Spells for Servants, placed by the summoners on the Cardinal Heroes. After all, if you summon someone stronger than you to defeat something you can't, there's no guarantee the summoned party won't just kill you just for annoying them. Shirou takes something of that back when he realizes that the weapons provided by the ritual have a staggering numbers of seals placed on them, making them more useless as weapons than a butter knife at the moment.
  • Travel Cool: Shirou enchanted Firo's carriage to ward off magical attacks, resist physical impacts, and even make it fireproof just in case. Naofumi wonders from Midori's envious reaction if that's the Filolial equivalent of someone pimping out their car.
  • Trust Password: After learning about the existence of disguise magic, Shirou teaches Rita to be wary of the possibility of someone posing as him. For example, in chapter 24 she draws a sword on him the moment he crosses the door and didn't put it away until he Traced a dagger with a ruby in the pommel to signify he's really himself.
  • Tsundere:
    • Discussed. Naofumi got teased this way in Chapter 40, by Motoyasu of all people.
      Naofumi: [uses Air Strike Shield to protect Motoyasu from an incoming attack]
      Motoyasu: Thanks!
      Naofumi: Don't misunderstand. I need you if I am going to get out of this alive.
      Motoyasu: Geez, don't go all Tsundere on me.
  • Undying Loyalty: Quite a few characters feel like this for Shirou.
    • Rita is willing to put her life on the line for him.
    • Jian. It gets to the point that she'd discard her mission to protect the world in favor of finding a way for her Hero to go home and go with him too.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Inverted. Shirou's actions in Zeltoble allowed Keel to reunite with Raphtalia a lot earlier than in canon, despite never crossing paths until after that point. Shirou destroyed a colosseum (after robbing it blind first, of course) and set up the other two in a Mob War that put them all out of business. This made the illegal slave market collapse in on itself without its biggest buyers around. Then without as many illegal slaves around, their market price went up a lot, thus prompting Keel's former owner to cash on it and sell him to the Slave Trader, which is how Raphtalia ran into him.
  • Victory by Endurance: Shirou has an ungodly level of tolerance to pain due to practicing magecraft the wrong and most painful way for years until learning better during the Holy Grail War. This becomes a plot point in his battle against the Mutant Griffin, where he was able to wield a bow and kill it with Hrunting despite the excruciating pain induced by the Legendary Sword, trying him to force him to drop a weapon outside his Fantasy Character Class.
  • Villain Respect: Aultcray sees right through "Issei's" intentions for meeting with him, prior to the Melromarc Wave: a means to smooth his own plans forward, by playing up to the ego of the biggest-name noble around. (In Aultcray's own words, "You bow your head so that they can't see you roll your eyes.") However, he approves fully of the tactic, having done the exact same sort of thing himself back during his adventurer days, even stating it's why he likes the Sword Hero. It's helped that Itsuki and Motoyasu - the only other Heroes who could get an audience with Aultcray - haven't so much as paid lip service to him.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 39. Shirou is unable to convince Naofumi to throw his duel against Motoyasu despite telling him that the Church of the Three Heroes will see him and his companions as a threat to kill instead of just shun if the "Shield Demon" manages to defeat the Spear Hero. The moment Naofumi is declared winner, Shirou decides to scrap his previous plans for "Issei" and kill three birds with one stone by jumping into the arena in his Sword Hero persona and stabbing Motoyasu In the Back. Then he uses his magecraft in front of the horrified audience to slowly transform into the most Obviously Evil appearance he can think of (see Evil Makeover above) and declare himself the "Demon" hiding among the Cardinal Heroes as prophesied by the Church. While this does accomplishes several important In-Universe objectives as described in Zero-Approval Gambit below, fans are divided over the development except by the fact it was indeed a Wham Episode that almost nobody saw coming.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Zero-Approval Gambit from Chapter 39. No matter how the Church of the Three Heroes will react to the Sword Hero declaring himself their prophesied Antichrist, they lose in some way. If they do nothing or persist in saying that the Shield Hero is the real bad guy, they risk losing lots of public support because the "Demon of the Sword" is just that much more Obviously Evil to the masses. If they say the Sword Hero is the real Devil in Disguise hiding among the Cardinal Hero, then they can't keep Demonizing the Shield Hero and Demihumans as they were under their own system of belief. If they try to Take a Third Option and condemn both Sword and Shield as demons at the same time in one way or another, they risk provoking a nation-wide Crisis of Faith and a potential Schism between those who believe one or the other is the real Antichrist. The best play the Church could go for out of the bad hand Shirou dealt to them is to use every resource to their disposal to get rid of "Avenger" as soon as possible and then run damage control and restore the status quo, however that also benefits Shirou because it means they will be too busy and distracted to see Queen Mirellia's plan to outlaw the Church coming – and that, on top of the resources they would have to burn through, and thus weakening themselves, in order to catch a One-Man Army who can fight a Wave on his own, teleport across the map, easily identify spies and/or assassins, and has no known people nor cause that they can use as leverage against him.
  • You Remind Me of X:
    • Atla reminded Shirou of Illya due to both having a similar condition.
    • Eclair reminds Shirou of his overly idealistic and borderline suicidal past self.
    • "Issei" projects such an image of power, discipline, and an utterly pragmatic mix of cruelty and mercy that he reminds Princess Malty of her mother, Queen Mirellia. The resemblance is likely to be only reinforced in her mind when her sociopathy-enhanced Master Actress skills fail to work on him the next chapter.
      • That same image of ruthless pragmatism also reminds King Aultcray of himself when he was younger. It's one of the main sources of his Villain Respect for the man.
    • Yami's Tsundereness seems to remind Shirou of Rin. It'd explain why he goes out of his way to rib her and bring that side of her personality to the fore.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: In Chapter 39, Shirou uses his "Issei" persona to put a very convincing act that he, the Sword Hero, is the "Demon" prophesied by the Church of the Three Heroes instead of Naofumi. In increasing order of importance, this accomplishes three important objectives in one fell swoop. First, it makes everybody forget Naofumi just won his duel against Motoyasu, something that would have provoked the Church to have him and his party assassinated similarly to certain time loops in the Spinoff The Reprise of the Spear Hero. Secondly, it uses the Church's own "teachings" against them by making all their believers doubt if the Shield Hero is really the demon they were expecting, next to the Obviously Evil "Demon of the Sword, Angra Mainyu". Third and finally, his "Avenger" persona can be a powerful and unaffiliated third party that directly acts against the Church of the Three Heroes and their allies, one that both draws their attention and can be openly blamed for the preparatory steps leading to their destruction, something that Queen Mirellia was sorely missing to lessen the risks of a Civil War breaking out when finally outlawing the Church as detailed in the relevant entry under Foreshadowing above.