Let Us Ring a Ding Ding

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Let Us Ring a Ding Ding Pinus Sylvestris
Kazimierzian Infected Knight B icon.png
Infected Knight-Engineer
Kazimierzian Infected Knight A icon.png
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member
News Reporter
Kazimierz Bar
Kazimierz Avenue
Kazimierz Alley
Kazimierz Ghetto
"Flametail" and "Ashlock" want to recruit capable hands for the Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub, and the "Wild Mane" Knight, who's been thrown behind bars, is a fine choice. After Wild Mane carefully observes Pinus Sylvestris, she realizes they possess ideals entirely unlike the other Knightclubs...
<Background 1>
Voice on the Television A breakout from the underground arena, two stages advanced in the preliminaries... a challenger with outstanding skill, Infected knight, "Wild Mane" Iwona Krukowska...
[Greynuty the Ashlock Knight and Sona the Flametail Knight from the Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub is watching the news while in a pub.]
Sona "Wild Mane?"
Greynuty What is it, Sona?
Voice on the Television ...however, caused an improper altercation with other knights in the rest quarters, and was violent in the confrontation...
...may face a "suspension"...
Greynuty Here it goes again. Another report on the dark side of Infected knights.
"Improper altercation." Hah, do you have to imagine? It can't have been anything but losers hooting at the winner.
When it's Infected knights competing, they'll say shit as bad they want to say.
Sona You saw that clip of the match just now, Ashley. This Kuranta's... got some skills.
Greynuty Her style's pretty distinct from those flower-show nobles, yeah, but she's still a ways off from the top tiers.
Sona Mmm...
Greynuty You wanna recruit her?
Sona I've heard about her before... some of the knightclub knows her.
What are we still looking for? "The team leader needs real skill and overpowering force." Your words, Ashley.
I wanna test our luck. Every independent knight is getting scouted by knightclub agents. If we invite her as an Infected knightclub, that oughta catch her interest.
I've got a feeling she's the one we're looking for.
Greynuty Are you interested in her skill, or do you think she shares our agenda?
Sona That's what'cha find out in your a little chat.
Greynuty Firstly, you need a chance to meet and talk at all. You heard it on the news. The K.G.C.C. is considering handing her a "suspension". That's not something you settle with a flick of the wrist.
The prelims just started, she's an Infected, and she's green for an independent knight. No one's going to be able to help her.
Sona And what if we actually could, this time?
Greynuty You need to think this through properly, Sona. It's a risky gamble. If she's already firm on riding this down to the end, we're going to be rivals.
But... if you need to talk to her, it's going to be worth all our strength trying. Where Pinus Sylvestris is right now, every new ally is crucial.
Sona We oughta try and see. If we can get our point across... then things being what they are, I'm pretty sure she'll want to do a little something for the Infected.
<Background 2>
Some days later...
[Iwona Krukowska, the Wild Mane Knight herself, walks out of the police station.]
Iwona Tch. Nobody in the K.G.C.C. wants to hear the facts. If you don't want a fair ruling in the first place, why get all sanctimonious blabbing at me?
Hff... damn, it hurts. Police batons got way more oomph than all that third-rate noble crap. Way I see it, they might as well put those guards up to fight a round or two. Lords in the audiences would love to see that...
[Many paparazzi quickly surrounds Iwona.]
??? She's out, she's out!
Iwona Huh?
News Reporter Wild Mane Knight, does leaving the General Chamber of Commerce mean the government's already made their ruling?
What are your thoughts on the dispute you had with the knights in the lounge? Was it an act of provocation?
Is it fair to the other knights to have you, an Infected knight, using the same facilities?
Iwona Get out of my face! All of you!
News Reporter You need to answer our questions, Wild Mane Knight! Also, just what pretext did you use for the General Chamber of Commerce to let you slip out...
Iwona Aaarrrrghhh, who the hell d'you think you are?!
[Iwona runs away from the paparazzi.]
<Background 3>
[Greynuty approaches Iwona.]
Greynuty Oh, here she is.
Iwona Hah, hah... huh?
Were you... waiting for me?
Greynuty I saw that scene at the entrance coming a mile away. You only had a few choices, and one of them was here. Unless... you wanted to bust your way out.
Looks like you've got it now though. The further you are from the camera, the better. Let me introduce myself...
Iwona No need, I know you. Big cannon-toter, and there's the other one with the sword. You two Zalaks are partners, and you're good enough in a fight.
Greynuty I'll take that as a compliment.
Iwona Ashlock, right? Are you here to pick a fight? Or just make fun of me?
Greynuty We knew you were walking into a mess. So we came to offer help, in case you need.
Iwona Ohh. Such as?
Greynuty Take those reporters, not to mention some of the agents around with ulterior motives. We can help you turn them all down.
Iwona Who are you guys?
[Sona joins in.]
Sona I'll take that one.
If you already know us and what we do, then this'll go a lot easier.
We keep a keen eye on the Infected knights. So when we saw on TV the kind of trouble you were getting into, we came up with a little plan...
Iwona Could you just come out and say it already? Complicated talk is just gonna hurt my head. What do you want out of me?
Sona To put it straight, we're in charge of the Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub. If you believe in the same things we do, then I want you to join us.
Iwona Pinus Sylvestris? Never heard of it.
Sona We're a new knightclub, mostly Infected knights...
Iwona ...Infected?
Sona Yep.
Iwona You think you'll make more money with a club full of Infected knights barely clinging to life? Ha, must be paradise and a half in your head.
Sona No! We're not like the clubs who use Infected as a moneymaking sideshow. We're all about mutual aid between Infected.
Iwona And how's that gonna work?
Sona The first part... we'll improve the treatment of Infected knights in the Major. That's the idea.
We all know how the Infected in the other clubs end up. All the money they promise is a scam, and their minimum bet is your life.
Iwona Ha. I bet all the Infected who fought their way through the arena want to ask: when's a single day go by without betting your life?
When those noble knight families lose, at least they've still got a home to trot back to with their tails between their legs...
Infected? If you want status, you head into that nightmare of an underground arena with everyone else and lose your mind scrambling for a knight title.
And just suppose you live through it. How long's your career, how far do you go? That's all for the moneybags to decide. They just wanna see you bleed.
Beat you half to death? Not enough for 'em. What those lunatic scumbags want to see in their heart of hearts is–
Greynuty Wild Mane, let's not.
Iwona Ugh. I know. Just venting.
No point talking about all this, anyway. What I need is someplace I can fix my weapon. I can do better than this beat-up hunk of junk shelled lance.
Sona Uh, we may not have a real certified weapon specialist yet, but we could always hire a professional...
Iwona In other words, if I join, I get some basic benefits?
Sona Right, salary... we can just about pay you like another knightclub. But, you know, our aim's always been...
Iwona Then I'm joining.
Sona Oh?
Iwona I said, I'm joining. I don't know what your Infected knightclub's gonna be like, but it's gotta beat any other choice.
I've seen the eyes of the uninfected knights staring at us and I'm through with it. I'm not associating with any of those chuckleheads.
Before I became a knight, survival was top priority, and everything was for getting fed. Ever since becoming a knight... that hasn't changed much.
I don't wanna put up with all that just to eat. If your thing can keep my stomach from running empty, and there's no old noble knightheads to make me throw up, then I'm with you for now.
Greynuty In that case, you want to get paid how much...?
Iwona Uhh...
(Holds out three fingers)
Greynuty Three?
Iwona Money for three days' food, and the funds to fix my weapon. I'm taking that match the day after tomorrow, and when I get that prize money, I'll pay you back, and then I'm officially splitting the rest with you.
The K.G.C.C. wanted bail before they'd let me out. Their stupid fine was so precise, it was my bank balance straight up–
Sona If anyone could get the number, it'd be them.
Iwona So, right now, I'm penniless, and I'm starving. No objections there?
Sona None at all. I can give you an advance here, and when you're done with that pressing stuff, come see us at the knightclub.
Iwona Now we're talking. Tell me the address. I'm gonna need your base tomorrow so I can practice how I'm gonna bust clean through the armor of that jackass who had words for me–
Sona Alright, I'll spar with you.
Iwona Deal, see you there. If you renege on me, I'm coming to find you and you'd better believe I'll settle the score!
[Iwona leaves.]
Sona What's up, Ashley? You've been eyeing me this whole time.
Greynuty You seriously... just gave her cash, had her join, and let her go? My guess is she doesn't even get why the K.G.C.C. let her walk out of that building in the first place.
Sona Haha, fixing your weapon's gotta be number one when you're a battle maniac! She's been slammed up for days, and there's no way she's talking serious business first thing.
And besides, we've got no time to explain things to her right now, we just came by with a few words. We've got other stuff going on.
Greynuty So you're saying you don't think there's a way to wrap this up quick, and you'll be in a better place to chat her up tomorrow?
Sona All we can do is stay on guard. It depends on if they leave the neighborhood Infected alone tonight...
Greynuty Wishful thinking.
Sona I know. That's exactly why this is something we have to do right now. I'll sort out the stuff with Wild Mane later, trust me.
Greynuty Fine, whatever. I mean, your instinct wasn't wrong. Wild Mane sure is interesting.
Sona Oh? Where's this coming from?
Greynuty The way she sees things... is kind of like how I used to. She might be more blunt... but she's got none of that excess baggage.
Sona Pffhaha. That's just what I need, you two finding common ground.
<Background fades out and in>
The next day...
An abandoned office building entrance
[Iwona stands in front of the entrance...]
Iwona ......
[...and looks around, unconvinced.]
Iwona ......
This is the place, right? This dump... is this seriously a knightclub?
Whatever, just in case. I might as well go in and ask...
[Iwona enters the tenement.]
<Background 4>
Iwona Hey, are the Flametail or Ashlock Knights in here–
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member Looking for the leader?
Iwona Yeah, I'm here to check in.
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member I'm surprised someone actually came knocking... Unfortunately, they just left on business... Why are you carrying luggage?
Iwona I'm surprised myself. What's got this place so strapped for cash? You don't even have a sofa?
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member Award money's ample for knights, true... but Sona and her crew use most of it to settle Infected.
Iwona Oh, I see. Thing is, I just got kicked out by my landlord, so I've only got my knightclub for shelter.
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member Put your luggage down for now, and we can work out what to do once the leader's back.
Iwona Speaking of, are they this busy all the time? Where do they drill?
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member There's a lot of work-related communication that needs handling.
Audits against Knightclubs for Infected knights are getting stricter. The Flametail and Ashlock Knights are constantly talking with the Adeptus Sprawiedliwi and the Grand Knight Territory.
Iwona *yawn* That's bureaucrats for you, all image. I thought at least there'd be proper eats for my initiation ceremony. Ashlock sure seemed like she could handle her drink.
Speaking of Ashlock, where's she put her cannon? I've been wanting to check it out. With a 'baaang' like that, and that truckload of destructive power...
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member Er, her weapon's... probably at home.
Iwona You're duping me.
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member Huh? Nuh-uh...
Iwona I can tell. You're hiding something from me.
What, scared to tell me where Flametail and Ashlock are right now? They're up to something outside of the Major for sure. Sensed as much during our conversation last night.
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member The leader did warn me someone might be coming, but the rest isn't... for me to tell you.
Iwona If she doesn't want you telling me, why wouldn't they wait until I came before they left?
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member They...
Iwona Something's definitely pressing on 'em, and that's what's keeping 'em away from here. It can't be anything good.
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member ......
Iwona Ha, I was right!
I knew it. It couldn't have been that simple when they came looking for me. You're up to some risky business, aren't you?
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member If Flametail and Ashlock made the right call... then they–no, we–want you to lend us your power.
Oh, and there's the other thing... they put up some extra money to rescue you.
Iwona ...Can you repeat that?
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member They wouldn't have wanted you to know. Not every member agrees with how our leader's going about things. She saw the news report about you, and decided to try getting you out.
Since the deal even got made, there must have been conditions attached...
Iwona Stop. I don't wanna owe 'em favors. If that's really how it's going down, I'm mad as hell, because I've got some responsibility for this too.
Fess up. Where'd they go?
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member They went to a neighborhood with an Infected settlement, to scatter them before they're taken away.
Wait, Wild Mane!
Iwona What now?
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member Flametail and Ashlock, they're both exceptionally kind, honest knights. I'm certain they want to recruit you because they know you're like us...
They're not just Infected knights, they're people who want to change the lot of the Infected in Kazimierz.
Iwona And what does that mean?
Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub Member When you... see their efforts, you'll understand.
<Background 5>
??? Over there–over there–
[Sona is hiding...]
Sona Don't worry, just get behind me...
[...as several Infected hunters scour the slums...]
Hunter Come out, Infected! You can't run!
[...and an Infected children with Sona got scared.]
Infected Child *whimper*... I'm sorry... I... I'm not bad... don't take me...
Sona Calm down, I'll keep them away. Are you all hidden, kid?
Infected Child Yeah... Miss, I–I'm scared... where's... mom and dad...
Sona I'll protect you, just like your mom and dad did. Trust me, okay? Once I call for you to come out, we'll find somewhere new to live, together.
Infected Child Miss... I want to go home...
[The hunters' footsteps getting closer...]
Sona Keep quiet a sec.
Infected Child Mmm...
[...but they run past Sona and the child without noticing them.]
Sona Right then.
Phew. C'mere–
[Iwona shows up.]
Iwona Yo.
Sona Huh?! You–
...Wild Mane?
Iwona Found you this fast and all I had was a wisp of a clue, and I got here quicker than that gray Zalak did. No slouch, am I?
Sona You really did track us down.
Iwona You're protecting this kid? He's Infected?
Sona Yep.
Iwona What, you're gonna hide a kid here? That's a whole five hunters. If just one of 'em succeeds, then he's lost before you even try to get him back.
Sona We... we're too short-handed right now. This is the most we can do.
Iwona Mm-hm. So, this is what you're really up to?
Sona Yeah. That's about the size of it.
Iwona You're not just in for Infected knights. You guys are helping out more Infected besides, aren't you?
Sona That's the deal.
Iwona Ha... and that's why you only recruit Infected knights. Because only the Infected would sympathize with Infected.
Everyone keeps the same secret, has the same wish, even though it seems... totally head-on with those competition knights, yeah?
Sona Yeah. Wild Mane, I don't have time to give you the whole story right now, so if you want out...
Iwona Why? I think this is majorly cool.
Sona Oh?
Iwona Yeah, no time. But before anything else, Flametail, I want you to seriously, truly invite me one more time.
Sona You mean... you've decided to do this with us?
Iwona Ha. What, am I not just like you?
Sona Alright... I get it.
Sona Wild Mane, are you willing to become a member of the Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub, to aid and be aided as an Infected knight, and to give your all, as we all do, for the sake of the Infected?
Iwona ......
Sona Wild Mane? Sorry, I messed that up, didn't I. I never feel like that speech quite works for me...
Iwona Call me Iwona.
I'm the Wild Mane Knight, Iwona Krukowska.
Sona Ha. Alright, you're calling me Sona then.
Iwona Sure, Sona. I, Iwona, as a new inductee to the Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub, will serve as a knight to seize glory, and to achieve our ideals.
And my ideals–Sona, if Pinus Sylvestris can change the lot of the Infected, and protect the people... then together with you, I'm going for broke.
Sona Going for broke... yeah, that's exactly the right choice of words here.
Iwona But it's not time to stake our lives just yet. We can't leave this kid alone. You're the leader, and it'll be too risky if anyone sees you in an alley doing this stuff.
Just get the kid out of here for now, and I'll handle things here.
Watch close, see what I'm really capable of–wait, no, you oughta go first. Watch another time, then!
Get out of here! By the time you've got the kid dropped off safe, I'll probably be on my way back to find you.
Sona Got it. Don't make this a scene though. Settle it slick, and we'll be waiting for you at the real Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub camp!
Iwona No sweat.
<Background fades out and in>
[Sona runs to meet up with Greynuty.]
Sona Phew... kept'cha waiting, huh, Ashley...
Greynuty Good going, Sona. All done?
Sona For the time being. Say, where's Iwona... uh, Wild Mane?
Greynuty Seems she went off reminiscing with Jamie...
Iwona Here you were, I got back forever ago. Wanted to ask Jamie for a drink, but there's no good booze anywhere around here.
Greynuty How's this, then. You get the prize money, and I'll treat you to a round.
Iwona Ha, done.
Sona I'll join too then.
Greynuty Nah.
Sona 'Scuse me? Why won'tcha let me in on this?! What, you guys already have stuff to talk behind my back?
Greynuty Do you even have time? There's a mountain of paperwork from the Knights Association...
Sona Agh... don't remind me.
Greynuty We'll just be belly-aching the whole time, and you hate that stuff. Besides, you're not that good with liquor, and you don't like staying at bars all night.
Sona Ugh... no lie. If that's what you're planning, you're your own.
Right, Iwona, if you're not busy, there's a few things I need to tell you about, regarding a few projects Pinus Sylvestris has going...
Iwona Those, yeah? Greynuty just told me about 'em.
Rescuing Infected, and Infected knights, and using prize money to help more Infected get legal identities...
Sona Huh, you're all wised up already... so, what'cha think?
Iwona All the prize money I earn can go to you guys. I was training to become a campaign knight. Never thought about doing this to earn big bucks. If it wasn't for... ugh.
Whatever. But in terms of the, uh, more detailed plans, I didn't actually get any of it.
Greynuty ......
Iwona Greynuty said, what Pinus Sylvestris is gonna do for the Infected, how we should do it... you do all that planning.
So I get it now. You can think this stuff through and put it into practice. That's mad mighty.
Sona Mmm–it's not all that mighty, heh...
Iwona I've been thinking about doing something for the Infected forever... just like the Blood Knight! He does some good, fine stuff.
Sona The Blood Knight reformed the Major's regulations, but us... Pinus Sylvestris looks to bring together a big group, form an even greater bloc, and do even more for the Infected.
Iwona Then I'm definitely part of it.
So it's settled, I'll follow you all the way. I believe you're what's right, and whatever bigger challenges come, I'll be there to help you deal with 'em.
But, if you can help me sort out a few problems of my own first, I'll worship you all the more.
Sona Heheh. If it'll win more trust, of course I'm happy to do it. What'cha need helping with?
[Iwona shows Greynuty and Sona a gaudishly modified robot similar to Rhodes Island's Lancet-2.]
Sona Uh... what's this?
Iwona My pet.
Sona Peeehhh... pet?
??? ......
Sona A pet, huh... that's... it's pretty cute! Iwona, how'd you come across it?
Iwona Ha, just saw it in a dump by the roadside, felt like I could get some use. They say you know a reliable engineer or some sort?
Sona Engineer? I don't know what kind you're talking about...
Oh, I think there are a few in the neighborhood who know their machine stuff.
Iwona Just a bit ago you were having hell finding a weapons repair guy, but now you've got people who understand these machines? What's the deal?
Sona Haha... well, he might take an interest in your weapon too. Should I take you?
Iwona Whatever, I'll take it over myself. You and Greynuty have other stuff to talk about, so go get chattering. Where's that engineer live?
<Background fades out and in>
[An Infected knight/engineer takes a look on Iwona's robot.]
Infected Knight-Engineer ...I see now. This fine outer hull and internal design...
Iwona How is it? Good stuff, right? This weapon's been with me for years now.
Infected Knight-Engineer But something I don't get... if you really are that strong, why was your major lance's hull so broken when you were coming out of the K.G.C.C.?
Iwona You wanna know?
Infected Knight-Engineer So long as you don't blow up the story too big, I'll hear you out. I wanna know how you use it, principally.
Iwona Ha. Where should I start, then–
Back when I was still readying to be a campaign knight, this lance was drawn up for the real battlefield, designed to open the way for the forces behind.
My major lance takes a tremendous amount of force and impact, multiple times over.
After the way's opened up, I'd switch over to a minor lance.
But, ever since I started in the arena, I've never let this big thing break.
Infected Knight-Engineer In other words... you haven't used your full strength, because you don't actually want to take anyone's life?
Iwona In those grimy underground arenas...
Whether it's orders blaring at top volume or captions on the screen, it's all pushing me to do vicious work on someone, and they don't call it a win until they see every other Infected on the ground...
I never once seriously injured 'em before.
But when I finally clawed my way to being a competition knight, I heard what those old nobleheads were saying about me in the lounge...
Well, I hadn't treaded the ground in a long, long time. Took out my minor lance, aimed it right at the armor over those acid-spitters' hearts–
You understand? I was really, actually hoping to run them straight through.
Infected Knight-Engineer Cheers to that. Would've been feel-good!
Iwona Feel-good nothing. Just give my pet a look already!
Infected Knight-Engineer Oh, right...
[The knight/engineer checks up on Iwona's robot, which takes a while.]
Infected Knight-Engineer Examination's done. This is an old Raythean model... and it shouldn't be too complicated to reboot it.
But it's got fairly limited capability. It probably won't understand your commands too well.
Iwona I'm good as long as it knows its own name.
Infected Knight-Engineer Name? What will you name it?
Iwona I decided a long time ago–I'm calling it Justice Knight. Here's hoping it's a little doer of a pet.
Infected Knight-Engineer Its original function was cover fire, it seems.
Iwona Well, isn't that peachy? It'll clean up nobodies for me. More boring than I'd like for a function, though. Can you make it more useful?
Infected Knight-Engineer Depends whether there's any other compatible modules it can make use of...
Iwona You need to find other parts to fit? Leave it for later, then. Let's see if we can get to light up first?
Infected Knight-Engineer Taking a look now...
(Sound of machine activating)
Iwona Ooh, there it goes.