When we entered the room, we saw a young man seated in the bed looking at the ground with a vacant expression.
“Steven?” Evelyn called his name and readied a spell. But contrary to our expectations, the boy did not show a startled or surprised expression.
Instead, he raised his strangely pale face with a look of fear.
“H-Headmistress? You came to arrest me?”
“… Yes. You killed a student, Steven. So I need to arrest you.”
“I see… I killed him, huh. Ha… Hahaha… Hahahahaha.” The young man started to laugh like crazy. “Yeah, I DID!”
“Hmm?” Steven tilted his head in the direction of Evelyn. “You need something, headmistress? Yeah, yeah, I remember… It was about Abel, right?”
Steven then stood up and walked towards a drawer. Calmly, he grabbed a knife and turned around to face us with a creepy smile.
“Heh… Hehehehe…” At some point, tears had appeared in his eyes.
Steven stared at the headmistress with a sad smile and opened his lips. “Please, tell my mother that I’m sorry!”
Then, he slashed with the knife towards his own neck!
“Stop!” Evelyn bellowed and cast the spell she had readied.
Sixth-Layer Wind Spell, [Wind Prison]!
It was as though the wind inside the room had turned heavy. Steven’s movement stopped completely, and the knife in his hands stopped before cutting his neck.
Evelyn sighed in relief. She then walked slowly towards the student with a frown.
“Why did you do it, Steven?”
“Why, huh… I wonder why…” Steven smiled wryly. The tears in his eyes had started to spill on the ground.
Then, he started to cry.
“Sorry… Sorry, headmistress… Sorry, Abel… I did not want to do it, I swear… I don’t know what happened… Sorry, sorry…”
Tear after tear fell to the ground. Soon, Steven was wailing despairingly in the room.
Both Evelyn and I were startled. However, I was certain of one thing.
Steven had not lied since the start.
It took Steven almost twenty minutes to calm down. During that time, he cried and cried while repeating that he did not want to do it.
However, I managed to piece together some things during this time.
Firstly, Steven did not want to kill his classmate, Abel. Or at least, he was regretting it badly.
And secondly, Steven had killed only one person.
In other words, he was completely unrelated to the first murder.
As soon as Steven calmed down, the headmistress released his constraints. She took away the knife on his hand and told him to sit in the bed.
“Are you alright?” Evelyn asked.
The young man nodded. “Sorry about it, headmistress… It’s just that… I don’t know what happened.”
Evelyn fell silent. She looked at the young man with a pensive expression and sighed.
“So you killed Abel, right?”
“… I did. I didn’t want to do it, but I just… I don’t know what happened.”
“What about Kerl? Did you kill him?”
Kerl was the name of the first student killed. A second-year commoner student. Both cases incredibly similar, the only difference being the weapon used to commit the murder.
But just like I expected, Steven put on a startled expression.
“Kerl? Who is that?”
Evelyn frowned. I, on the other hand, have already gotten an idea about what was happening.
But to confirm my guesses, I asked something to the young man.
“Can you tell us about how everything happened?”
“… Yes, of course.” Steven then started to tell us the story.
According to Steven, he and Abel were very good friends. When he learned about the duel between the Clubs’ Committee and the Student Council/Students’ Guards, he came to the classroom to invite his friend to go to see the duel.
There was where it happened.
When Steven was talking with Abel, he suddenly got a strange impulse to kill him. It was as though something was whispering ‘kill him, kill him’ in his ear.
At the start, Steven thought it was nothing. He shook his head and laughed off those strange thoughts.
However, they quickly became stronger.
And when they were about to leave the classroom, Steven’s turned crazy.
“Everything was blurry then.” Steven laughed bitterly. “When I reacted again, my sword was already piercing Abel’s chest. The last thing I remember is Abel’s gaze filled with incredulity, as though asking me why I did it…”
Evelyn fell deep in thoughts. Looking at the pale young man, she asked something.
“What about his soul?”
But Steven’s answer was an expression of bewilderment.
“I understand.” Evelyn sighed. “Steven, can I look through your memories? There is something I need to confirm.”
Steven was startled, but maybe because he was too shocked by the situation, he nodded.
Evelyn put a hand on his forehead and closed her eyes. With a thought, she searched inside his thoughts for the memories related to the murder.
A few seconds later, she retired her hand.
“Wait here for a moment and don’t do anything crazy.” Evelyn instructed Steven before looking at me. “Claus, come with me.”
She then left the room.
I followed her silently.
Once outside, we looked at each other with grave expressions.
“Mind manipulation.” Evelyn said.
I nodded. “It looks like the mastermind behind the murders is more dangerous than we expected.”
Steven had obviously been manipulated to do something against his will. Everything in his story points to that.
However, manipulating someone’s mind is not easy. Someone able to such a feat is someone extremely dangerous.
“Did you find anything in his memories?”
Evelyn shook her head. “Nothing. Furthermore, I did not find traces of someone tampering with his mind. It was as though he did everything voluntarily. I neither find anything about the other murder.”
I wrinkled my brows. I’m getting more confused with each passing second.
“… Headmistress, can I try searching his mind too?”
“I have a bit of knowledge about it.” I explained. “Perhaps I can find something.”
Evelyn looked at me with a suspicious look, but maybe because she was out of options, she accepted.
“Be careful, don’t injure him.”
Searching Steven’s memories was easy. I just touched his forehead and looked into his soul.
And this time, I found something.
However, my face darkened quickly.
“Damn it.” I muttered under my breath and retired my hand. I then looked towards Evelyn and shook my head.
“I see.” Evelyn sighed. “Well, it was worth a try.”
I nodded and fell silent. As I said before, I actually found something.
In the deeps of Steven’s soul, I found traces of the person behind everything.
However, there was a small problem.
Those traces were hidden deep in his soul. So deep that I need to damage his soul to get them.
In other words, I needed to kill him.
And right now, I could not do it.
At least, not with Evelyn here.
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