Scenario: I have to protect the integrity of some files that will be exchanged between entities $A$, $B$, $C$. Entity $A$ creates the file (e.g. configuration) and sends it to $B$ and $C$. Entities $A$ and $B$ are considered trusted but entity $C$ is semi-trusted (by default it is trusted but we assume it could be compromised at some point). The communication channel between $A \leftrightarrow B \leftrightarrow C$ is considered secure (e.g. VPN).
Now, I obviously cannot rely on HMAC since I would have to share a secret with potentially compromised $C$. But I would prefer to avoid implementing a PKI and digital signatures for this purpose. Is there any way around a PKI that will protect the integrity of my files?