Chapter 16: A Test?

Hypnoc approached me with bloodshot eyes.
He's openly talking about backroom deals and such.

I feel something is off.
The magic knights are a group that has been fighting against monsters for a long time.
They are, in a way, protectors of justice.

I can't imagine that such an obvious corrupt person would be among them.
Besides, if that Vīta girl is a noble's daughter, then the incident where she came to kill me is too suspicious.’

A noble's child, in other words, she carries the honor of her family.
Can such a child commit a crime so easily? I don't even remember doing anything to make someone hold a grudge against me.

‘Finally, there is the branch chief who hasn’t arrived till now.
Could it be…!?’

At that moment, I, who had passed the “Insightful Intuitive Interpreter Level 1” – ‘self-proclaimed, sole beholder achieved by a sad life of always trying to read the atmosphere and people's expressions’, understood everything!

‘My God! That's right! Maybe I’m being tested by the branch chief?’

That was my conclusion! Yes, everything is preplannedーfirst, he had Vīta-chan attack me to check my reflexes.

Black mages and monsters are cunning, so it's not uncommon for them to suddenly attack the knights.
That's why the branch chief sent Vita-chan.
I'm sure he planned to intervene if I couldn't handle the situation properly.

By the way, Iris seems to be clueless about this.
Her reaction is too natural, so he probably didn't tell her to give this test a more authentic feel.

And next, there's Hypnoc-san growling in front of me.
It seems he want to test my “sense of justice” by how I respond to this person.

If I say “I can forgive Vita-chan for the money,” I would be a huge disappointment.
So, is punching him and saying “Don't mess with me, you rotten bastard!” the right answer?

‘Hmm…that is certainly a manly choice.
But that's not enough.’

I was incredibly calm.
I don’t know much about the real scenario on the surface, but I realize that in the “setting” of this test, the Camblor family is supposed to be the biggest scum.

That's right, isn't it? If those guys were decent people, there's no way Hypnoc-san would be worried about “research funding being cut off” even if Vita-chan caused a problem.
Isn't that just venting frustration?

“Hey, isn't money great, Kurou!? I'll do my best to get enough compensation to live off for a year! So let's pretend it never happened, okay?

“If you forgive Vita-jou, we'll all be happy! Come on, forget about any grudges and live for the future! Hate won't create anything!”

‘I see, this is a “trap”! This Hypnoc-san, who is so obviously rotten, is not evil, but a “distorted person twisted by evil”! In other words, this person is also a victim, and I have to save him――!’

“Hey, are you listening to me!?”

I have reached the truth! A Magic Knight is someone who is allowed to possess powerful magical armaments.
Therefore, they must carefully discern people like me for judgment.

The true nature of evil―that is what I have to read from Hypnoc's acting.


You have done a great job, Branch Chief.
Now then the answer is simple.


“Hey, listen! Don't ignore me!” Hypnoc grabbed my collar.

Did he think I wasn't paying attention? He approached me with teary eyes, displaying impressive acting skills.
There is only one way to respond to him (?).

‘Alright, I'll play my part to the fullest.
I'll become the character―The Evil Condemner, that I'm good at!’

I consciously tried to “loosen my strength at the moment of impact, so it wouldn't hurt too much while still making a loud sound,” and then…

I slapped Hypnoc's cheek with all my might…!


“Calm down, Hypnoc.
Remember what 'justice' is!” ――I held Hypnoc's thin body tightly in my arms as he was confused.


“Kuro-kun!?” Iris yelled in a flipped-out voice, but I ignored her for the moment and spoke to Hypnoc.
“I'm not angry at you.
It was just as hard for you, right, Hypnoc?”


His fragile shoulders trembled, but I continued my words, consciously using a sweet and gentle voice to comfort the depths of his heart.

“I can tell from your behavior.
You've been desperately trying to maneuver so as not to displease the nobles, haven't you? There must have been times when you had to accept humiliating requests.
You were even forced to suck up to them and endure being compelled to do things you didn't want to do, right?”


Hypnoc couldn't deny it.
So, is that the 'setting' after all?

‘If he is also a member of the Knights of Justice, then he shouldn’t have been rotten from the beginning.

As he went around in the upper circles of nobles after joining the Magic Knights, he must have become corrupted little by little――I guess that’s the setting.’

He is a twisted character.
With just a few words, he wouldn't change his ways just yet.
If my guess is correct then, this person’s face will turn red with anger…

“D-Don't act like you understand me!”

Just as I expected, the man pushed me away and broke free from my hold.
Good, I had loosened my grip just enough so that Hypnoc could speak his mind freely.

“Damn it, you act like you understand me…
That's right, I'm just a dog of the nobles! I've been covering up the sins of noble brats for twenty years since the beginning.
Now, I'm nothing like a knight of justice! I know that much!”

Huh, twenty years!? Did you really worked here for so long? This person definitely looks like a late teen boy or girl.
What kind of character setting is this?

Hmm…maybe it's a mistake in the dialogue.
He probably meant to say two years… let's just ignore it.

“But you know, there are plenty of things you can gain by taking dirty jobs! So, Kurou, you should be smart too! Instead of pretending to be a righteous person, just forgive Vita-jou and earn some living funds!” (Hypnoc)

“Okay.” (Kurou)

“Did you get it…huh!?” Despite saying it herself, Hypnoc looked at me with eyes filled with disbelief.
Iris also twisted her face and exclaimed, “Why!?”

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