Proviso: Hypothetically Just

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Hypothetically Just
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There are at least two different ways to interpret any given matter.

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Knight Scout
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Timid Woman
Kazimierzian Knight C icon.png
Zorn/Razor Knight
Defense Attorney
Drunk Customer
Passionate Cheers
Security Officer
TV Broadcast
Voice on Television
Voice on the Phone
Kazimierz Avenue
Siracusa Courtroom
Prison Cell A
Kazimierz Ghetto
Kazimierz Alley
Kazimierz Bar
Deszcz is more than used to defending the bad guys, but who's to say what makes a bad guy?
<Background 1>
Kazimierz's current legal system is objectively a byproduct of her historical development, one with indisputable practical value and objective necessity...
The division of judicial and executive powers between the National Council and the Adeptus Sprawiedliwi has ensured that the legal system maintains a rectifiable balance. The inevitable clash between the Adeptus Sprawiedliwi and the General Chamber of Commerce became a kind of insurance to this homeostasis...
But when the topic of "justice" is brought up, as well as when seeking any kind of deontological ethical foothold in Kazimierz's current legal system, we must consider the ever-encroaching, foundational influence that capitalism has on the values of the general public...
—Excerpts from Deszcz's graduation thesis, "The Conflict, Reconciliation, and Imagined Future of Kazimierz's Present Legislature with Regards to Trade Capital"
Voice on Television ...Let us turn our attention to the string of events that occurred at Arena No. 4 a few days ago.
Renowned knight "Razor" Zorn of the Silveredge Knightclub continued to unleash his relentless attacks and critically wounded his opponent, who has yet to regain consciousness.
The prosecutor's office has brought multiple charges against Zorn, including aggravated assault and disorderly knightsports conduct. A court hearing is set to be held.
The injured knight, Roth, is a rising new star in the Kazimierz Major.
From the knightsports arena of a remote village, he climbed all the way up the ladder to the Grand Knight Territory, and has obtained excellent results in the recent preliminaries.
According to his attending physician, it is highly likely that he will never regain his mobility. Sadly, this may be the end of the road for our fledgling young knight.
Now for an interview with Roth's wife...
<Background 2>
Prosecutor Mr. Zorn. The competition clip we just played is from the official feed of Arena No. 4 on the day of the competition.
As can be seen in the video, there is no doubt that you raised your hand and landed what could have been a fatal blow on your opponent after the judge had sounded the whistle to end the match. Do you dispute this?
Zorn ......
Prosecutor You do have the right to remain silent, but I also have the right to continue asking questions.
The medical report that I am now submitting to the court is from the hospital where Mr. Roth is currently receiving medical care. As shown in the report, the injuries he sustained were all caused during the match—in other words, you caused them.
Do you dispute this?
Zorn ......
Prosecutor Your record also shows that you have had multiple match violations, in addition to a violent incident outside the arena.
Likewise, the evidence shows that the knightclub that you belong to, Silveredge, once attempted to recruit Mr. Roth, only to be rebuffed.
Did you receive any instructions to cause bodily harm to Mr. Roth?
Defense Attorney Objection. The prosecutor is asking a leading question.
Judge Sustained. Change the question.
Prosecutor Your Honor, I believe the nature of this case could not be more apparent. Out of pure malice, the defendant attacked a kind and innocent competition knight, inflicting upon him irreparable harm.
To uphold the sanctity of the law and the continued development of our national sport, I ask for the maximum possible penalty.
No further questions, your honor.
Judge The defense, if you would.
[Deszcz steps forward.]
Deszcz Mr. Zorn, during the match, did you get a clear signal that the match had come to an end?
Zorn No, I did not.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 3>
Deszcz How awful...
It took so much work for that young man to make it all the way here to the Grand Knight Territory. It was a chance for him to change his fate... Do you realize how many voices outside are sympathizing with him right now?
Razor Knight What a sick joke. Every year, hundreds of knights die in the underground arenas, but the media and the spectators picked a single unlucky sod to blow all out of proportion.
Enough of this nonsense... You're supposed to be my lawyer!
Deszcz So you are aware that I'm here to help you, and not just a fan hoping for an autograph?
Razor Knight ......
Deszcz The Silveredge K.C. thinks this is going to severely damage their reputation. Which is why they're spending huge sums of money to hire a defense lawyer for you. Or to be precise, to calm things down.
In the end, getting you out of this mess is a way for them to save face. Your situation and my fees are both outside of our direct control. You do know what I mean by that, right?.
So, try to calm your temper a little. It'll make it easier for the both of us if we can work together. Got it?
Razor Knight Fine...
Deszcz I looked into your files. Over your last three years of matches, you've accumulated a total of thirteen citations for knightsports rules violations. Though your ferocious style has also earned you more than a few fans.
Not to mention your other violent clashes and the rumors that you're cheating on your taxes... None of these are really things I can use.
Razor Knight "Style"? I'm just playing the character my knightclub wants me to.
I was just going to teach that village boy a lesson... I didn't even notice the signal that marked the end of the match.
Deszcz Do you think anyone cares about that?
From the masses' perspective, this is a case of a violent knight-noble deliberately injuring a commoner that everyone looked up to as an inspiration. Everyone's champing at the bit to see this villain brought to trial.
At this point, defending yourself is only going to have the opposite effect.
Razor Knight So if I plead guilty, what kind of deal can you cut? A fine? Imprisonment?
I'm okay with anything... As long as my title is intact, as long as I can keep fighting in the Major, I can rise again—
Deszcz Let's not get ahead of ourselves. As a professional defense attorney, I suggest you take all my advice and follow my strategy.
Your job is very simple. No matter what they ask you, you keep your mouth shut. Then, you answer my questions the way I tell you to. Painless, right?
Razor Knight If I work with you... what kind of outcome can you get me?
Deszcz Hmm...
How about a "not guilty"?
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 2>
[Deszcz scrolls through documents.]
Deszcz Your Honor, this is a report of Mr. Zorn's physical examination, dated the day of the competition—likewise from the hospital where Mr. Roth was sent.
It clearly states that Mr. Zorn had a mild concussion because of the injuries he sustained during the match.
In other words, given the situation, it is highly likely that the defendant was unable to clearly hear the whistle or the announcer.
Prosecutor Don't make me laugh... An ambiguous report like this proves nothing!
Prosecutor, are you trying to make a judgment on the judge's behalf?
[The judge hits the gavel.]
Judge Silence. Order in the court.
Deszcz Allow me to continue.
Mr. Zorn, what is your appraisal of Mr. Roth's competitive abilities?
Zorn He's a very strong knight, and a lot more skilled than me. His recent matches have been outstanding, too. I thought I didn't stand a chance.
Deszcz That does seem to be the case, going by the scores. Mr. Roth's ranking this season is much higher than yours. The betting odds prior to the match also suggest this.
This also implies that you believe Mr. Roth did not perform as well as he usually does during the match. Is there perhaps a reason he might want to lose the match on purpose?
Prosecutor Objection! Irrelevant!
Judge Overruled. Continue.
Prosecutor —!
Deszcz Your Honor, as Mr. Roth is unable to appear in person, please allow me to bring in our witness.
Ma'am, you are Mr. Roth's wife, correct?
Timid Woman Yes... I am...
Deszcz Two days before the match, an official account belonging to the Goldhelmet K.C. transferred ten thousand marks to Mr. Roth's personal account. What do you know about this money?
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 4>
Knight Scout I pieced together all the offers that each knightclub made for Mr. Roth before his injury, as well as rumors of their private talks. Everything I could find, it's all here.
[Deszcz scrolls through the documents she got.]
Deszcz As reliable as ever! Here's your reward, same as always.
Hm... ten wins out of eleven matches in the preliminaries. No wonder so many clubs are trying to get in his good graces... If I'd known about this, I would've bet on him back then.
Knight Scout He's a young man with hardly any experience other than martial training. He doesn't know the first thing about the rules of the commercial side of knightsports.
Given all the clubs tussling over him, if he'd hyped up his impoverished background and his image as a family man even a little, he'd probably be making several times what he does.
Deszcz Going just by the files you gave me, he's almost like the protagonist of a classical knight novel. Have characters like him been popular in the Major lately?
Knight Scout I've met him a couple times. He's an honest, decent guy. Always fights fair and square. Even after he made it big, his relationship with his wife wasn't shaken one bit. I've never heard anything negative about him, either.
It's a damn shame this happened to him.
Deszcz Thanks. I'll gather the rest of what I need through the law firm's channels.
Knight Scout Are you using this to prep for Razor Knight's case? You're actually trying to get him out of this mess?
Deszcz Mhm.
Knight Scout You... You'd best be careful.
Things are looking pretty dicey right now. The boss of Silveredge is staying out of the public eye. If you get caught, don't let anyone know I gave you this intel.
Deszcz Don't worry, I won't. Silveredge wouldn't be spending this much money if they weren't feeling the heat.
Knight Scout Is there even anything to dispute with this case...? That maniac Razor did it with everyone watching, and Roth's injuries are real. How are you supposed to fight a case like this?
Deszcz Nothing to dispute?
Goldhelmet, the knightclub that's been chummiest with Roth, gave this rookie a huge sum of money before they were anywhere close to signing a contract with him. Isn't that a bit too generous of them?
Knight Scout They had just got their top knight poached by another club. They're in a rush to secure new talent. Probably just their idea of sincerity.
Deszcz But if I remember correctly, aren't they are also Silveredge's mortal enemy?
Knight Scout Wait, are you saying... You know that's not true!
Deszcz Guess I'm lucky the trial's happening before Roth wakes up, huh?
Knight Scout Razor's a scumbag... You know that!
Deszcz Maybe, but scumbag or not, he's my client.
Knight Scout ......
Knight Scout You've changed, Deszcz.
Deszcz What's this? Weren't we having a cozy teatime chat? Why are you giving me that serious look?
Knight Scout I still remember when you first bought information from me. You were an intern, and trying to win a retired campaign knight his pension, pro bono... How time flies.
Deszcz Wow, I've completely forgotten about that. Although the case does sound familiar, now that you mention it.
I really should thank you. If it weren't for your info, I'd probably have lost a number of my cases.
Knight Scout Yeah, I've heard rumors about your cases...
The Grand Knight Territory is a rotten place... And I make my living selling gossip, so maybe I'm not one to talk, but...
You're not enjoying this, are you Deszcz?
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 2>
Deszcz Mr. Zorn, as a member of the Silveredge Knightclub, could you explain to me your knightclub's relationship with the Goldhelmet Knightclub?
Zorn I'm sure anyone who knows anything about the Kazimierz Major knows that Goldhelmet and Silveredge are knightclubs of similar scale. They've always been business rivals, and have had several clashes.
Deszcz In other words, any negative impact on the Silveredge K.C.'s reputation would indirectly lead to more profits for Goldhelmet, correct?
Prosecutor Objection! The defense is going off on a tangent. This question is irrelevant to the case!
Judge Sustained. Change the question.
Deszcz My apologies. I still have one last question.
Mr. Zorn, this is the description of the match from the prosecutor's indictment, and I quote, "Even though his opponent could no longer fight back, he continued to unleash attacks of sufficient force to cause his opponent significant injuries."
Do you agree with this statement?
Zorn I disagree.
It's not apparent from the match's recordings, but I could see it very well from my perspective.
When Roth was on the ground, his crossbow was still aimed at me.
<Background black>
The paper has a novel concept, but the demonstration section is too subjective and contains too many of the author's negative predications. Dissertations should stick to the main arguments and focus on the details. Avoid empty, unrealistic musings.
The committee has determined that this dissertation requires further improvement.
Addendum: Why abandon the topic of "legal protections for the commercial image of competition knights"? Do you know how many other students are fighting over it?
—Supervisor's response
Judge I will now announce the verdict.
<Background 1>
Razor Knight Thank you, Miss! I should've expected nothing less from the Longrein Law Firm's award-winning lawyer!
Deszcz Let's save the pleasantries. I expect your knightclub to pay the bill within three days.
By the way, the trial may be over, but out of consideration for your reputation, I suggest you keep a low profile.
<Background 1>
Razor Knight Of course, of course. You took care of this huge pain in the rear for me. Lawyer fees aside, I really need to express my gratitude one of these days!
You were right. Those screaming idiots are just a bunch of morons who know nothing. The law is fair and just!
I won't forget you. If I ever run into this kind of trouble again, you'll be my first choice! Goodbye!}
[The fans outside the courtroom begin to cheer as soon as they see the knight leaving the courtroom.]
Passionate Cheers Razor! Razor!
Throngs of fans surround the court's front door. The newly-acquitted knight waves his arms as he walks toward the crowd, like a hero returning in triumph.
Deszcz ......
[Deszcz gets a call.]
Voice on the Phone Beautiful victory. Congratulations. Ms. Deszcz.
The chain of evidence was still somewhat crude, but going solely by the results, you've met our expectations. Very well done.
Deszcz Thanks for the compliment, Director.
I saw a few familiar faces in the jury. It didn't matter who was on the case, right? How can I take all the credit?
Voice on the Phone We may be on the phone, but there are certain things that should be left unsaid.
Deszcz Mm... Sorry...
Voice on the Phone In any case, with the Razor Knight case brought to a close, I don't want to hear his name ever again, especially not for a retrial. I take it there will be no issue with that?
Deszcz Don't worry. I'll take care of the follow-up just fine.
Voice on the Phone Good. You can get some rest until your next case.
[The call is ended.]
Deszcz Whew...
[Mrs. Roth angrily runs to Deszcz.]
Timid Woman My husband did no such thing!
Deszcz Oh, Mrs. Roth.
Thank you for coming to testify today. Did you need anything else?
Timid Woman Why did you slander my husband like that...
He's already had to suffer so much... Did you have to strip him of his dignity, too?!
Deszcz ......
Security Officer Ms. Deszcz, is there a problem here?
Deszcz ...No, it's fine. I ran into an acquaintance, that's all.
Sorry, ma'am. The trial is over, and you should've told this to the judge and the jury earlier.
Now, if you'll excuse me.
[Deszcz tries to leave.]
Timid Woman Aren't you ashamed to distort the truth like that?!
What gives you the right to twist the facts? What gives you the right to toy with other peoples' lives?!
Deszcz ...Do you think what you know is the real truth?
[Deszcz approaches Mrs. Roth.]
Deszcz If you really want to chat, let's find somewhere else.
<Background 5>
Timid Woman Roth said... his greatest wish is to stand in the arena of the Major, and prove to everyone the glory and dignity that knights should have.
He's always worked towards that...
Deszcz Then you must not be very familiar with your husband's work.
Timid Woman What do you mean...?
Deszcz I received some news that wasn't related to the case. Interested?
Two days before the match, the Goldhelmet K.C. transferred a sum of money to Roth's personal account. Then, a substantial amount was transferred out of that account.
This money was then transferred through multiple accounts in succession. In the end, it was all used to place a bet on Razor winning his match against Roth.
Timid Woman How could that be...?
Deszcz I don't know the details of the deal between Goldhelmet and Mr. Roth, but it's not so hard to guess. As for Razor Knight, his involvement was an unfortunate accident.
It seems your husband isn't the knight novel protagonist everyone makes him out to be. Although that does make him more relatable.
Timid Woman No way... That's not the kind of man he is...
Deszcz If not for the accident, do you know how much those "lottery tickets" of his would've been worth, compared to the prize money for winning a match?
Timid Woman ......
Deszcz In the end, both Razor Knight and Mr. Roth were puppets on strings.
I don't think anyone has the right to criticize him. No one can see the stars above until all the neon lights are turned off.
A lonely lamp lights up the corner of the narrow alley. Dark shadows extend in both directions with no end in sight.
The lighted signs of the tall buildings in the distance together form a curtain that blocks out the night sky.
Timid Woman Isn't there some other way...?
Isn't what they're doing... a crime?
Deszcz Well, there is a way...
There's only so much cake to go around. Everyone wants a slice, but this also means each faction only has a limited influence on the court. There's definitely a way to break through, we just need to find it.
That is, if someone is willing to stand up and declare war. As for the risks...
Timid Woman What else do I have to lose...?
Deszcz Here's my card. Once you've made up your mind, give me a call.
Once you've decided to make those who toy with others pay the price for it.
Also, I'm sorry about what happened to your husband.
<Background black>
Thank you for your suggestions. I will continue to edit my draft.
—Deszcz's response
Two months later...
<Background 6>
TV Broadcast The trial surrounding the Goldhelmet Knightclub's match fixing has come to a close.
Although its representative continues to deny the charges, the evidence is conclusive, and the court has made a fair judgment. The knightclub will face a large fine and a six month ban from the Major...
Next up, on entertainment news, Rose Knight has once again denied the rumors with Full Moon Knight, maintaining that the photos were forged and asking fans for their continued support...
Drunk Customer I've heard the Goldhelmet K.C.'s a dishonest bunch. I've lost so much money on their matches! They finally got what's coming to them!
Big Drinker Customer They only have themselves to blame. They've done plenty of terrible things, but their worst crime? Not hiring a better lawyer.
Drunk Customer Huh? What're you talking about? If they're guilty, they're guilty. No lawyer out there can twist the truth.
Justice is never late. Anyone who commits a crime will get their punishment in the end.
Big Drinker Customer I wouldn't know if justice is ever late or absent, but if you ever commit a crime, you'd best be careful not to leave any evidence.
[Deszcz gets a call.]
Deszcz Hello? It's me. I'm still on vacation, but I'm available if you need me.
Voice on the Phone You call that a vacation? You clearly have the energy to take on other cases. You're behind the Goldhelmet affair, right?
Deszcz Isn't this what you wanted, though? If we stir up trouble for them, they won't have the energy to keep haranguing us about Razor Knight.
Voice on the Phone I'm more curious how you persuaded the witness to report this, in spite of the risks.
Deszcz The power of anger can be pretty scary. If you give someone in despair the slightest push, what happens next follows naturally.
I couldn't afford to leave any tracks, and this way puts the wife's mind at ease, too. I guess it's a win-win situation?
Voice on the Phone I can more or less already see what excuse you've prepared for this... Honestly, I have a newfound respect for you. You're a great fit for this profession, Deszcz.
Deszcz Thank you very much. I'll treasure my job here at the law firm.
[Deszcz ends the call.]
Deszcz ...I'm not enjoying this, am I?