The continent of Ark Strada.
Looking down towards it from the sky;
It was shaped like a dragon spreading its wings;
On it were five forces that were kept in balance.
I The dragon’s wing Holy Espada Agency.
II The dragon’s body Chevron Kingdom.
III The dragon’s jaw Zepharos Empire.
IV The dragon’s tail Labrock Trade Union.
V The dragon’s heart Lautreamont Knight Country
“Welcome to <La Tene>!”
Recently, the students’ restaurant <La Tene> had started to open earlier to serve breakfast. This was a new policy which had been proposed by the store manager. In the past, the majority of students chose to have breakfast in the restaurant that was located on the first floor of their dormitory. However, since the main selling point of the dormitory restaurant was its low prices, there were limitations with its selection. Perhaps because of that, there were supposedly many people who had hoped that <La Tene> would open for breakfast since a while ago. As proof of that, as soon as they opened their doors at seven o’clock in the morning, there were indeed many students and faculty staff who poured in to <La Tene>.
Anya always greeted these customers with a smile as they came in early in the morning. The reason why she still wore cat ears and a tail was thanks to the store manager’s proposal as well. When Anya first wore the costume, she had been incredibly embarrassed by it. But after getting used to the situation, Anya no longer felt too bothered by her outfit. Anya had already been working at <La Tene> for around two and a half months. Looking back, it was already the middle of the month of Scorpio. As winter gradually approached, the dishes of the restaurant also changed so that they were somewhat warmer. It would be an underestimation to consider it as merely a students’ restaurant. After all, within the span of Dragonar Academy’s five hundred year history, <La Tene> had naturally served up many authentic dishes. The restaurant even had a strict rule that only those who had trained in the neighbouring country of Chevron were fit to be hired as chefs. There were also many dishes on the menu with extravagant names, and her female colleagues in the restaurant had once complained ‘It’ll kill me to remember everything on the menu’. But to Anya, everything was fresh, so she didn’t particularly find the menu to be a chore. But even so, the optimistic and positive Anya still had her own troubles—
“Anya, please go out with me!”
After their breakfast service hours had ended, the boy who bowed and confessed to Anya was Raymond Kirkland, a first-year student in the Senios Course. He also happened to be a good friend of Ash. Truthfully speaking, his confession didn’t seem to have much of an impact on Anya. Ever since she started working in this students’ restaurant, she had been confessed to like this more than ten times. There was always someone who came up to her to confess — this was Anya’s trouble which no one else knew about.
Just as she had rejected all of the others, Anya also rejected Raymond.
“Ah…I knew it was going to turn out like this.”
After Raymond dropped his shoulders in disappointment, a sharp expression suddenly emerged in his eyes as he asked
“Say, Anya. You couldn’t have…”
“There’s actually someone that you like?”
Even Anya was shaken by her own surprised reaction. As soon as she was faced with that question, the first thing which came to her mind was the appearance of Ash’s courageous face.
—W-Why am I thinking about Ash’s face at a time like this!
“Huh…so that’s how it is after all. Ash’s luck with the ladies is way too good…”
Raymond saw through it all, and he dejectedly turned around to leave.
“Wait! Don’t try to act like you know everything! I never even mentioned Ash…”
Anya hurriedly called out to his lonely back, but Raymond ignored her and left the restaurant. Anya subconsciously held a tray in front of her chest.
“…But it’s useless no matter how much I think about it, Ash already has Eco after all. Princess Silvia as well…”
The pain that she felt was like a bunch of needles pricking at her heart. Even Anya couldn’t understand why she felt such heartache.
“—It looks like you have a lot of troubles.”
When someone suddenly started talking to her from behind, Anya almost jumped up out of shock. She couldn’t stop herself from letting a strange cry out. When she turned around, she realised that Mirabel Lautreamont was sitting by the window side as she sipped on a cup of black tea. The beautiful Mirabel was not only the Third Princess of the Knight Country, but also the headmistress of Dragonar Academy. She was also known by the name of <Argento Magus>. However, even though it was rare for her to visit the restaurant, Mirabel still enjoyed her own black tea. The person who stood and waited behind her was her charming personal maid, Eunice. Beside Eunice was a cart that carried various tableware and other utensils for preparing tea.
“What number does that make the boys who have confessed to you now?”
“I-I don’t know…I don’t keep track of them all…”
Anya gingerly replied, noticing that something seemed off. The graceful Mirabel was a scholar at heart. She was primarily only interested in holy relics. Was it not a big deal that Mirabel had taken an interest in someone’s personal issues despite normally being nonchalant?
“Umm…Your Highness Mirabel. Has something strange happened?”
Upon being asked that by Anya, Mirabel quietly set her teacup down.
“My dream is about to come true. Look at this, Anya.”
Mirabel spread out a large and timeworn map on the table. The parchment had yellowed, and it had also become quite tattered. As she looked at it, Anya couldn’t help but wonder how many centuries old the parchment was.
“What is it a map of?”
“There’s actually an enormous labyrinth underneath the city of Ansarivan, it’s just that no one knows about it.”
“Ah, that’s right. I’ve also heard about the rumours…but I’ve never been in there.”
Anya shyly replied. When she infiltrated Ansarivan with Milgauss, Milgauss had once told her about the existence of that labyrinth.
“I’ve heard that there are many unexplored areas in that labyrinth, though it’s inhabited by various beasts and has dangerous traps, which is why entry is forbidden…”
Mirabel nodded in agreement with Anya’s words.
“This map was only just discovered a few days ago. Before that, it had simply remained dormant in the library of a monastery on the outskirts of Ansarivan. As of now, this is the only map in the world which shows the deepest route into the underground maze.”
Even though it was such a rare and valuable map, Mirabel had boldly spread it out on the table of a students’ restaurant.
“Moreover — there is an extraordinary holy relic hidden in the deepest part of this underground labyrinth.”
Mirabel extended her snow-white finger and pointed at a certain location on the map.
“What is that holy relic…?”
“It isn’t convenient for me to tell you about it at the moment. So let’s leave it as the fun of the treasure hunt.”
Anya was fascinated by her small, devilish smile. It was the first time that she had ever seen Mirabel reveal such a playful smile.
“By the way, Anya.”
The tone of Mirabel’s voice suddenly shifted and seemed somewhat serious, which caused Anya to feel nervous. Mirabel’s expression changed back to that of the <Argento Magus>.
“I’ve been curious about it for a while. The cat ears and tail that you wear…is it a cultural item from your country, or a kind of custom?”
“I’m very curious about it. Is there some kind of connection to an ancient civilisation…?”
Anya swiftly waved her hands as she denied it.
“I-It’s not as significant as you think. It’s just an idea that the store manager came up with…I don’t think it’s related to anything as profound as culture or customs…”
“That’s impossible. The accessories which you’re wearing must contain some kind of incredible power which continues to attract the male gender. Would you be able to lend it to me?”
After Mirabel received the cat ears from her, she wore it on top of her own head.
“…There doesn’t seem to have been any change.”
As she saw Mirabel ponder over it, Anya couldn’t help but smile as she thought to herself ‘She really is a strange person’. At the same time, she was almost stunned by how cute Mirabel looked when she wore those cat ears.
“—Princess-sama. Have you forgotten the purpose of this trip?”
When Eunice gave her a reminder, Mirabel nodded and snapped back to her original goal.
“That’s right. I came to visit today because there’s actually a favour that I’d like to ask.”
As Mirabel’s clear eyes stared directly into her own, Anya’s heartbeat accelerated. She still wore the cat ears above her head, but her expression was dead serious.
“H-How may I be of service to you?”
“I want you.”
After she had just rejected Raymond’s confession earlier, this time Mirabel was the one who took the initiative.
Isn’t it inappropriate for a girl to confess to another girl…?
Amidst her panic, Anya’s thoughts spiralled around and she couldn’t help but feel confused—.
“…So, would you be able to lend me Anya for a while, manager?”
“That’s certainly fine. Given Anya’s abilities, I’m sure she’ll be an excellent bodyguard for Your Highness.”
Without Anya realising, the store manager had already appeared near the table. There was a sly smile on her face as she nodded in response to Mirabel’s request.
Anya was dumbfounded, and all she could do was blink awkwardly. It seemed as though a conclusion had already been reached while she remained confused.
“Anya-san, Her Highness requires a strong bodyguard. It’s because no one knows about the dangers which could be lurking in the underground labyrinth, and I am unable to be of use in combat as well…”
Eunice explained the situation.
“But, why choose me as a bodyguard? If you had to choose, wouldn’t the students who are Breeders be much stronger?”
“I am the headmistress, so it would be an abuse of my authority to use students as my personal bodyguards. They should be focused on being diligent with their academic studies. But Anya, you have the necessary strength and there won’t be any problems even if I hire you privately, right? Of course, I won’t force you to accept.”
“Anya-san, if you’re willing to accept this job, I’ll also be at ease.”
Eunice said that as she grasped Anya’s hand. The expression in her eyes made it almost seem like she was pleading. Eunice was unlike Cosette and Celes in that she was just an ordinary maid. She was incapable of being a bodyguard for her master. Even Eunice herself proposed that someone else should act as Mirabel’s bodyguard. Anya hesitated. When she reunited with Veronica just last month…
—The waitress outfit really suits you. You should stop your life of violence and fighting, so that you can strive for a future of happiness.
Veronica had once encouraged her with those words. Having said that, the job request that Mirabel made to her today was that of a bodyguard, so she wouldn’t actively be going into battle to kill. At most, she simply had to drive away the creatures that resided in the underground labyrinth. Having grown up in the mountains, she used to deal with all kinds of strange beasts when she was young, so she was probably capable of assuming the role of a bodyguard.
“I understand. Since that’s the case, I’m willing to accept your request.”
Anya smiled as she answered. At that point in time — Anya didn’t imagine that Ansarivan City would soon face an unprecedented crisis.
“Treasure Hunt ~A.S.B.1365.11~” is closed.
(Part 1 of 1) (8/10)
Continues on to Chapter 1 – Bad News and the Return of Veronica