The Quarry - The Loop
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|“||Louie accepted an urgent commission, the client asked him to go to the depths of the Snow Mountain to find a document. But there hides a dark secret behind this seemingly ordinary commission...||”|
Blue Bird in Flowers
- (Year 680, New Era, Flower Field, Cloud Empire)
- (Following the shadow of the bluebird, Lunar walks into the mist of Flower Field)
- Nikki: Why did Lunar leave in such a hurry?
- Bobo: She looked not right just now... What did she find in there?
- Momo: And she was muttering something that I didn't fully understand. Something about dreams and bluebird...
- Fu Su: Don't worry. Lunar has gone to meet someone important, that's all.
- Bobo: How do you know that, Fu Su?
- Momo: Who could be this important to Lunar? Please tell us!
- Fu Su: It's not my place to say. Let her tell you after she returns.
- (Before long, the mist permeating throughout Flower Field disperses, and Lunar emerges)
- Nikki: Where did you go, Lunar?
- Bobo: Did you meet that important person in Flower Field, Lunar?
- (Lunar gazes out in the direction that the bluebird departed, a morose silence hanging about her)
- Lunar: No message came years after we parted, nor did the bluebird ever return to my dream... It brought nothing back.
- Lunar: We have been communicating by that bluebird.
- Lunar: He would write me stories of the North: long nights and eagerly-anticipated dawns, solitary heroes and their legends full of blood...and the thing he has been searching for...
- Momo: He? Who is he?
- Bobo: Shhh! Just listen.
- Lunar: But three years ago, his letter stopped coming...
- (Year 676, New Era, North Kingdom)
- (The Christmas tree in the corner is brightly decorated, and half-drunken guests are singing songs. Such a peaceful, joyous sight is rare in the North Kingdom)
- (In the corner of the tavern, however, Louie sits alone, biting his pen over a letter.)
- Tavern Waiter: Yo, Louie! Writing to that little Cloud girl again? Lemme see...one, two...two lines, total. Damn, two lines in one hour? Now that's impressive!
- Louie: (Covers the paper with his hands) Eyes off!
- Tavern Waiter: Come on, even I could guess the kind of romantic yarn you two are spinning. Here, lemme share some tips with you.
- Tavern Waiter: Now let's see...girls like epic, heroic stories with a little mystery. Kinda like...the Nameless Chivalric Order! What do you think?
- Have ever heard of the Nameless Chivalric Order?
- Louie: You've got news of them?
- Tavern Waiter: Now how would I even do that? They're just a legend, aren't they?
- Tavern Waiter: A mysterious order of knights, protecting a secret that keeps the peace of Miraland...something like that... Ah hem, come on, they all go that way.
- (Louie, who had been working as a mercenary in the North Kingdom for the last few years, witnessed the fall of the kingdom and the rise of warlords)
- (All he could do was complete his missions and protect the people around him...but he couldn't change the fate of the North Kingdom)
- Louie: The legends say that Nameless Chivalric Order guards the secret to peace. When the darkest time comes, they will appear and end the cold long night...
- Louie: I hope they really exist.
- (Louie picks up his pen and continues writing his letter to Lunar)
- Louie: (Dearest Lunar, how have you been? Winters here are exceptionally long; even it's already the new year, we are still a month away from the coldest time of the year...)
- Louie: (The last time I went to the northernmost end of the kingdom on a mission, there were only five hours of sunlight a day; after that, it was the boundless night...)
- Louie: (So the clothing worn there is very unique...)
- (Before the letter is finished, Louie's mechanical watch starts making a loud winding sound. The numbers and dials on the watch begin to change at random)
- (Louie looks at the watch and writes down what appears to be a random set of numbers)
- Louie: (Location: Guerilla outpost in the Snow Corridor. Target: an experimental dossier)
- Louie: (Client: Dr. Morrison. Time: ASAP...)
- Louie: (Morrison...the famous pharmacist? Why do guerrillas have one of his experimental dossiers...)
- (The numbers on the dial stop running. The final cipher is a red flag, indicating that this mission is of the utmost urgency)
- (Louie is somewhat puzzled by his mission briefing, but as a professional mercenary, he only finishes the quest.)
- (Louie carefully folds and places the unfinished letter in his pack. He looks at his watch once more, and cautiously presses a button on the side to accept the job)
- Louie: Check, please!
- Tavern Waiter: What, done already? It's my idea, right? You owe me this time!
- (Louie doesn't reply. Walking out of the tavern, he puts on his helmet and walks towards his motorbike. He fires up the engine, and left in full speed.)
- (The roar of the engine fades away in the snow and the Christmas carol)
Unarrived Blue Bird
- (Year 677, New Era, Moonlit City, Cloud Empire)
- (New Year's firecrackers crackle and pop outside. Lunar stands alone in the palace courtyard, gazing at a tuft of clouds in the sky)
- Sue: What are you looking at, Lunar?
- Lunar: Nothing...
- Sue: Still waiting for the bluebird?
- Lunar: ...
- (This year, however, brings no signs of the bluebird or Louie's letters)
- Lunar: Is everything alright...?
- Lunar: Perhaps, Louie happens to be on an urgent mission. I should be patient.
- (Lunar, calmer now, returns to her room and takes out the carved wooden box in which she keeps Louie's letters)
- (She unfolds their past correspondences, taking in Louie's familiar handwriting and tone...)
- Lunar: Vast tundra, ceaseless snow, flame-like red flowers on the snowfield, and the unbending people at daybreak... this is Louie's world.
- Lunar: I don't know if I'll ever get to see this world of his... This year, he must have been to many new places and had many interesting things.
- (Lunar unfolds a sheet of paper and begins drafting a reply)
- (Though she hasn't received a letter, she can't wait to tell him all about her year)
- Lunar: (Louie, how as your year been? Are you any closer to the truth you are after?)
- Lunar: (As a designer, I've experienced so much and learned so much this year.)
- Lunar: (Do you remember my family's Calico cloth?)
- Lunar: (Cloud Calico is as light as feather, beautiful like clouds in the sky, but when it comes to design, I began to feel it lacks something, something deep and solid...)
- Lunar: ...Let's keep working hard to pursue our goals. But I believe we'll see each other again someday)
- (Lunar folds her letter, and continues waiting for the bluebird's arrival)
Old Friend in Snow Mountain
- (Year 677, New Era, North Kingdom)
- (Before the ambiance of festival fades, Louie is already on his way to Snow Corridor.)
- (It is frigid, uninhabitable gorge in the Arctic Mountains near the western border of the North Kingdom)
- (The journey along the icy tundra is surprisingly smooth, but as Louie enters the harsh Arctic Mountain, he encounters a band of warriors blocking his path)
- (Making quick work of them, Louie presses on. However, it seems that the closer he gets to the Snow Corridor, the more warriors appear to repel him)
- (These warriors are different from the usual mountain guerrillas. They seem more organized, like a proper army)
- (Louie's suspicion grows; there must be something important hidden in the Snow Corridor)
- (He finally arrives at the fortress at the end of the Snow Corridor described in the mission briefing; what he sees puzzles him even more)
- (The men guarding the fortress are all wearing white robes, walking in the cold wind like ghosts in the snow)
- (Under their white battle robes are standard armors and spears, and a special insignia that Louie had never seen.)
- Louie: (These are not guerillas at all...Morrison's mission appears to be more complicated than he let on. I need to confirm their identities before anything)
- (Concealing his presence masterfully, he cautiously approaches the fortress, little by little)
- (Suddenly, a man who appears to be their commander appears. He said something to the warriors and then proceeds towards the fortress by himself)
- Louie: (It's Master Lionel, my spear teacher!... He was lost in a campaign ten years ago. Why is he here!)
- Louie: (My master was the noblest warrior I have ever met...he would never steal a scientist's most prized work! It's indeed more complicated than I thought; I need to ask him about it)
- Louie: (Louie slides down the icy cliff and approaches the watchtower) Master Lionel, long time no see...
- Lionel: ...You... Louie? Why are you here!...
- Lionel: And your outfit! You're the mercenary who braved in the Snow Corridor?
- Louie: I'll explain later, Master Lionel. I honestly never thought I would see you ever again! I thought...
- Lionel: Likewise, Louie... Your father was one of the most respected Knights of Kingdom, and yet here you are: a mercenary.
- Lionel: You left Knights of Kingdom and Black Water City and became a sellsword, is this really what you want?
- Louie: I only want to fight for my faith.
- Lionel: I won't listen to another word unless you can defeat me, Louie. The theme is North warrior, now show me your strength!
Nameless Chivalric Order
- Lionel: I see... So you are commissioned to retrieve an experimental dossier.
- Louie: Precisely. Now, Master Lionel, you know everything; please, tell me who you really are and what you're doing here.
- Lionel: You don't have to call me that, Louie. I've abandoned my past, including the name 'Lionel', so I'm your master no more.
- Lionel: See these white robes? Everyone here has abandoned their name and buried their past in the snow.
- Lionel: We abandoned everything to protect what we have to protect, including ourselves...
- Louie: Abandoned everything to protect... You are the Nameless Chivalric Order?
- Lionel: Louie, you are smart, just like your father. Then you should know there is nothing you want here.
- Louie: Then... what's in the Snow Corridor?
- Lionel: I cannot tell you.
- Louie: Listen to me, master! This commission feels not right. The experiment dossier could be an excuse. Perhaps, what they're really after is what you're guarding...Who's there!?
- (Suddenly, a strange figure appears on the ice cliff; a burly man with stiff-looking limbs, but nonetheless moves quickly in the snow)
- (He appears to be holding some kind of key)
- (The soldiers also realize something is amiss, and immediately assume combat positions)
- Unknown Warrior: The 'key' has been stolen! I repeat, the 'key' has been stolen!
- Lionel: Teams 1 and 2, defend the fort from within; Teams 3 and 4, stand by at the 7 o'clock position! The rest of you, on me!
- Louie: I'm coming, too.
- Lionel: I'm sure you had nothing to do with this, Louie, but...when the 'key' was stolen, you had just broken into the fort. These soldiers won't trust a mercenary like you so easily.
- Louie: If I hadn't broken into the fort, those guys wouldn't have gotten their chance. I feel responsible for it, so please let me bear that responsibility!
- Lionel: ...Understood. I'll hold you to your word, now let's move!
- (The footprints in the snow lead onward, and disappear in front of an abandoned laboratory nestled deep in the snowy mountains)
- (The laboratory's iron gate is much sturdier than it appears. The Knights attempt to break through, but fail)
- Louie: Let me try.
- Unknown Warrior A: You? How do you intend to break down the door? Armor-piercing rounds? An RPG?
- (Louie doesn't answer. Taking out his combat knife, he runs it across the gate, seemingly probing for something)
- Louie: ...Here.
- (Taking out a screwdriver, Louie skillfully opens up an iron patch on the gate. Beneath it, the flashing red light of a code locker can be seen)
- Lionel: Are we going to crack the lock, Louie?
- Unknown Warrior B: Now that you are so good, why not just break the lock directly.
- Louie: No, this lock could be linked to some defense systems...Don't worry, cracking codes is my specialty. Trust me.
- (The soldiers give Louie some space. After several attempts, he manages to unlock the gate)
- (As the soldiers carefully file into the laboratory, the door slams shut behind them)
- Lionel: Something's strange about this lab...stay on your guard.
- Louie: Yeah. Stay clear of those incubation tubes.
- Unknown Warrior B: There is a huge incubator here...fit for a fully-grown person. Whose lab is this?
- Lionel: Not good...The temperature seems to be falling rapidly. But there is nothing but snow mountains behind the lab, they are still here.
- Lionel: Louie, can you look around and see if there are hidden passages in this lab?
- Louie: (After a quick inspection) This laboratory was cleverly designed; any damage to the devices in here will immediately trigger the defense systems.
- Louie: The plummeting temperature is actually the defense system issuing a warning.
- Unknown Warrior A: Damn, just tell us can you break this system?
- Louie: I could try, but I have a better idea--Cut off the power! But... To do that, I need your help.
- Lionel: I trust in you, Louie. What do you lot think?
- Unknown Warrior A: We trust in your decision too, mercenary...but why not crack the system's code as you did earlier?
- Louie: Cutting off all power to the system saves us a lot of time and effort, simple as that.
- Unknown Warrior B: Hahaha. well said! Alright boys, let's tear down this lab!
- (Under Louie's guidance, the soldiers take apart the circuits and wiring that power the laboratory. After all equipment is disabled, a secret doorway suddenly opens)
- Louie: Go!
- (Louie leads the Knights down into a secret basement. Suddenly, the same stiff-moving robot from before leaps out and dashes towards Louie)
- (Louie deftly avoids the attack and continues chasing forward, while the others control the robot out of balance.)
- (In the tunnel, a roaring helicopter is going to take off. Louie jumps on it, drags Morrison out, and retrieves the 'key'.)
- Louie: It's you...
- Morrison: ... Louie, if you had just done your job properly, I wouldn't have had to do it myself...you truly disappoint me.
- Louie: What are you after?
- Morrison: What, you still don't know? Oh...I see! Heheheh... Interesting, indeed.
- Morrison: So you are working for those pretentious knights before you even know what the 'key' is?
- Louie: Those incubators in the lab...
- (Morrison's eyes went dark and stopped saying. The Knights came up and put Morrison in shackles with the robot)
- (Lionel approaches Louie and pats him on the shoulder, and sighs)
- Lionel: Louie, this 'key'...is the key to what Nameless Chivalric Order guards.
- Louie: They say what you are guarding determines the peace of Miraland and is the key to bring North back to peace.
- Louie: So, I've been seeking Nameless Order all day long--
- (His words are interrupted by the sound of approaching footsteps)
- Nidhogg: Inconceivable. You are still so idealistic today...
- Louie: Nidhogg...
- Nidhogg: True peace never exists, don't you understand?
Battle in Deep Snow
- Louie: Nidhogg...I thought you had left the North to go to Lilith?
- Nidhogg: I'm here for Dr. Morrison. Now hand him over.
- Louie: And if I refuse?
- Nidhogg: It seems we are fated to be enemies. My former comrade, Louie, and...the legendary Nameless Chivalric Order.
- Nidhogg: Is this fake peace really worthy for you to sacrifice everything for?
- (Lionel, unshaken by Nidhogg's words, stares at his enemy like a nighthawk, ready to strike)
- (Nidhogg, knowing there is no way to negotiate it out, gives the order to attack. A heated skirmish ensues)
- (In the midst of the fighting, Morrison quickly and quietly undoes his shackles and attempts to flee)
- (Lionel notices Morrison and trains a Knight's spear at him)
- (However, no one noticed the dark barrel of a rifle pointing at him from the shadows)
- (A lone bullet tears through the cold air, finding its mark accurately and resolutely at Lionel's temple)
- (Nevertheless, he firmly moves forward, and manages, to plunge the spear into Morrison's flank)
- Louie: No--
- (Louie rushes forward, and catches his teacher)
- (The bullet failed to pierce Lionel's head but ruptured his carotid artery. Letting loose a roar, he draws the spear out of Morrison's body and slowly collapses to the ground)
- (A sniper steps out of the darkness and stands behind Nidhogg)
- Sniper: ...
- Louie: Nidhogg...
- Is that your choice?
- Nidhogg: I'm truly sorry. I hoped that you would fight by my side, but it seems it wasn't meant to be.
- (Only Louie and the rest of the Knights remain. Lionel, still clutching the spear, has grown as pale as the snow around him, his robes dyed with his flowing blood)
- (The soldiers try to staunch the bleeding, but to no avail)
- Lionel: Louie...Thank you.
- Louie: Don't talk, Teacher! Just wait...we'll patch you up and get you back to the fort right away...you'll be fine...
- Lionel: No, it's too late...I know it. There's no going back for me...my eyes, they're full of snow...all I can see is white...The key? Where is the key?
- Louie: Here... It's here...
- Lionel: (Fumbles for the key, then puts it in Louie's hand) What do you think...this key is...?
- Louie: (Holding back tears) It's the key to peace...
- Lionel: No, True peace never exists... It... It's the clue to break the Curse of Blood. The key to disasters. To the abyss...
- (Not until then did Louie understood that what he pursued never existed. What he's after is not the daybreak but eternal dark.)
- Lionel: This is the truth, the fate of the Nameless Chivalric Order...Now that you know everything, will you still pick up this knight spear...?
- Unknown Warrior: (Whispers) It's okay to refuse, Louie...
- Lionel: Cough, cough... Yes, you have the right to refuse... You are the student I'm most proud of... I don't want...
- (At that moment, fragments of Louie's past begin flashing through his mind)
- (The plot of Morrison and Nidhogg, the sniper in shadow, the key to peace or disaster, the words of dad when he was a boy, and the sweet girl in Flower Field...)
- Louie: I will.
- (Louie kneels on the knee, taking up the spear stained with blood from the hand from his master)
- (The spear, emblazoned with the Knights' insignia, lies heavily in Louie's palm)
- (Louie feels the weight of the future in his hands, just like when he took up the practice spear in his first lesson many years ago.)
- Lionel: Louie...repeat after me...
- Lionel: From this day forth, I forsake my name, my past, and all I hold dear...
- Louie: From this day forth, I forsake my name, my past, and all I hold dear.
- Lionel: I hereby renounce my existence, and vow to wander the night in solitude, protecting the light of glory and striking through the darkness of night until my dying breath...
- Louie: I hereby renounce my existence, and vow to wander the night in solitude, protecting the light of glory and striking through the darkness of night until my dying breath...
- Lionel: Until dawn breaks...
- (As Lionel finishes the vow, he closes his eyes for the last time. The rest of the Knights kneel quietly, venerating the unsung hero in silence)
- Louie: Until... dawn breaks...
- (In the waking hours of the following day, Louie and the Knights depart from the laboratory)
- (Master Lionel was buried in the Snow Corridor. He will sleep in this world of white snow forever with red Flame Flower along with him.)
- (That flame-like flower is like an unyielding soul, burning in the snowfield.)
- (Dressed in a snow-white robe, Louie holds the knight spear. With the blood stain cleaned, it shines a dazzling light under the sunshine.)
- (As he walks out of the lab and stands on the snowfield. The bluebird hovering above sings loudly, then swoops down and smartly lands in front of Louie)
- Louie: Blue...
- (Louie pets the small bird's head. Suddenly, he remembers the unfinished letter in his bag)
- Louie: This letter...
- (Louie thinks back on how meticulously Lunar designs and styles clothing)
- Louie: ...Sorry.
Return of Knight
- (Legend says that in the North Kingdom, there is a Nameless Chivalric Order. This shadow-like, invincible force only appears in the time of war, fighting for the peace of North.)
- (Year 677, New Calendar, the Knights return)
- (Thanks to their intervention, Dr. Morrison was exposed. Seemingly overnight, he went from a well-respected scientist to a notorious demon doctor)
- (With spears that gleam like the Aurora, their ghostly visages descended upon the battlefield in the North Kingdom to crush the conspiracy and end the war)
- (The news of Nameless Chivalric Order spread into six other countries in Miraland, stirring the hearts of people)
- (Year 677, New Era, Apple Federation)
- Orlando: The Nameless Chivalric Order...has returned. The situation of North becomes even more unpredictable... Or, it could be a good thing, who knows?
- Orlando: But, the sniper who transcended the Curse of Blood means... The balance of this land is about to be shattered.
- (Year 677, New Era, Lilith Kingdom)
- Servant: Prime Minister, we have yet to find any further information on the Nameless Knights.
- Nidhogg: Hmm...
- Nidhogg: It makes no difference, in the end.
- Nidhogg: Only one person could lead the Nameless Chivalric Order...
- (Year 677, New Era, Moonlit City, Cloud Empire)
- (It has been a month since the new year, yet Lunar has not received a single letter from Louie. Bluebird didn't show up too.)
- (Lunar enters the courtyard, gazing into the distance from under a Begonia tree. Clouds dot the horizon, but her bluebird is nowhere is sight)
- Lunar: Uncle once said...that a bluebird only follows the faithful. Louie... are you doing good there in the North?
- (Lunar dares not to ask the question. She only tells herself that Bluebird will come one day, with the letter of that man, from that land of snow and Flame Flowers.)
- I must believe Louie.
- Lunar: He is strong enough to protect himself. We had an appointment. We will fulfill our dreams...
- Lunar: I believe that he must continue marching down the path he has chosen for himself...