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Home > Reborn: Runaway Bride

10 The Web Unravels

 Ai let out the breath she had been holding as she reached the safety of her room. Her mind was in a whirlwind and somehow the overload of emotions today had been weighing heavily on her mind.

Should she take the chance? Or should she not? Ai pondered.

It's not that the proposal was not good. It was, in fact, great and truly once in a lifetime opportunity. But Ai was feeling wary. She doesn't want to get involved with the clan council any more than necessary and it was a known fact that the two young masters are prominent members of the council.

In Shinto, there were five powerful families that made up the main body of the Shinto clan. They were namely Omaru of Defence, Hozaka of Trades, Yunes of Supplies, Yamato of internal relations and Shizuka of external relations. The five families, also known as the Council of Five, managed Shinto as a whole while taking charge of their respective fields.

Even though Ai was unable to withdraw her own family's involvement with the council, that doesn't mean she should get any more involved than required. After all, the council of five was just a facade to keep the members from fighting out among themselves and the power struggle in the council was truly vicious.

This was the main reason why the Omaru brothers came to visit her previously and she couldn't help but felt heartache at the mention of Jin. In her previous life, her family sided with the Omaru because of her affection for Jin. But in the end, it had ended in disaster and the council was the one who ordered her family's execution.

Ai sighed tiredly, letting the exhaustion lured her to sleep as she retired for the night. Unbeknownst to her, a pair of bright grey eyes had been watching her every moves as they shook with the turbulence of emotions.

Kit let himself down from the ceiling he had been hiding as Ai's gentle breaths calmed into a steady pace. He had been eavesdropping the conversation she had with Shion Hozaka and Tamaki Yunes and he couldn't say that he was pleased.

Even though she didn't exactly accept their offer, she was still considering and that did not sit well with him. After all, Kit knew all about them and they are not the type of people that Ai should be involved with.

Shion Hozaka, though rarely appeared in public, is the richest man in Shinto and his extensive networks reached far beyond the province itself. He has enough power to revolutionise a whole city if he wishes and many would not dare to go against him. Despite being quiet, Shion Hozaka is known to be a merciless businessman and one that shouldn't be trifled with. Even though Shion Hozaka is indeed a formidable foe, Kit was more worried about the other man, Tamaki Yunes.

Tamaki Yunes, a young prodigy at the age of 22, has the public face of being a well-known socialite and successor to the supplies giant, Yunes Industry. But the young master Yunes has a hidden face that few people knew about. He is a sadistic hedonist that toys with people cruelly and the ringleader of illegal underground networks that no good person should be involved with. Even Kit's mother was once tangled up in them and it was God's mercy that his mother escaped Tamaki's clutch.

Kit's thoughts darkened as he looked at Ai worriedly. It seemed that his young miss has the most unfortunate of lucks by attracting the attention of the sickest bunch. It wasn't helping that she had suffered a lot in her previous life and yet in this new life, she seemed to dive straight into trouble.

With also the threat of Omaru brothers looming in a close distance, Kit had wondered, Should he take her away?

Kit shook his head immediately, no he doesn't want Ai to hate him. He doesn't even think Ai is aware of his affections for her and if he suddenly takes her away, she would end up hating him greatly.

Kit gently tucked away the fallen strand of hair on Ai's face as he gazed at her lovingly. She looked truly breathtaking and his heart was thumping greatly that it might burst out of his chest. Reluctantly, he stood up as he forced himself to exit her room. Any longer he stayed, he might have taken her away against her will and that's the last thing he wanted.

Time Skip

Morning came and Ai felt refreshed after having a sufficient rest. She had considered Shion Hozaka's offer and decided to decline it. She wanted to stay away from the politics as much as she could and the collaboration with him might be the time bomb that ultimately put her family in danger. With that in mind, Ai headed out to the general study. Never did she know, she decided too soon as the surprise that awaited her would turn her decision in a 180 direction.

"Papa!" Ai bounced into the general study excitedly, ready to tell her decision to her father. But what she saw was something she never dreamed of in this life.

Jin Omaru sat in a red outfit that typically reserved for the grooms as he held a lucrative box in his hands. His smile brightened the moment he saw Ai and he immediately stood up.

"Ai! I had come to marry you, my love!" Jin declared excitedly.

What the bird?! Ai cursed in her mind as she stared at Jin in shock.

Currently, Ai's expression greatly resembled a fish out of the water as her mind swirled with confusion. What on earth is going on? She wondered as she turned to look at her father questioningly. Her father was no help as he looked back at her helplessly.

"What's the meaning of this, young master Omaru?" Ai asked rigidly, she was unable to make sense of what's going on and a slight migraine was forming to put a damper on her mood.

"Ah, my love, call me Jin! We are about to be betrothed, don't be a stranger!" Jin said with a smile that could blind the brightest of the suns.

"B-betrothed?" Ai stuttered as she looked towards Akiyo who had been sitting with a dark expression on his face. The boy's face looked murderous as he glared at his brother with a deep hatred.

Jin, who seemed unaware or chose to be unaware, looked at Ai and answered, "Why yes, we had been intimate and it's a man's honour to take responsibility for it! Don't worry, my love, I will cherish you despite the circumstances!"

Ai's eyebrows rose up comically as she heard the absurdity from Jin. "We had never been intimate, young master Omaru! I don't know what nonsense you are sprouting but you probably had mistaken me for one of your pleasure ladies!" Ai replied fiercely as anger started to erupt in her being.

"No! I-I never go to those places! Ai, have you forgotten our encounter in the garden? I-I touched you, and I don't want to bring dishonour to Shizuka name so I'm proposing this marriage!" Jin replied, his eyebrows scrunched up as if in confusion as he looked at the glaring young miss.

Ai suddenly wanted to laugh. He must be talking about the encounter, where he unceremoniously landed on her in his fall. And he was using it as a reason to try to tie the knots! How delusional can this man get? she wondered.

"Young Master Omaru, you must be talking about the time you had fallen ungracefully from our tree and how you had trespassed into our territory. I did not press charges against you but now you are making me wonder if I should have instead?" Ai threatened him subtly as annoyance crept into her mind.

The gut of this man to utter such accusations and she wondered what's making Jin Omaru chase her relentlessly. In her previous life, Jin did not have any interests in her no matter how hard she tried and yet here he is, proposing a marriage despite her indifference.

"Ah... about that-" Jin started but Ai wasn't having it. She cut him off immediately as she continued with her verbal tirade, "And one more thing, for the marriage proposal you mentioned, it was barely a proper reason for one to get married to. If that was the reason, I should be marrying Kit since there were indeed way too many physical touches during our training!" Ai replied mockingly as every pair of eyes in the room turned to her with mixed emotions.

Kit grew red at his young miss's words as he considered them seriously. Marrying Ai? Of course, he accepts, this is his dream all along! If Ai asked, he would immediately sign the papers to make it official and make her his wife as soon as possible.

Oblivious to Kit's train of thoughts, Ai smiled in victory as she saw the shocked reaction of Jin. Haa! Her little taunts had worked in riling him up! Good, better hate me and move along, Jin Omaru.

Unexpectedly, Jin looked down and glared at the ground as the feeling of betrayal overwhelmed him. His servant? His fucking servant?! He couldn't believe his ears but he is unwilling to give up.

After a few moments of silence, Jin uttered softly, "Ai, I'm sorry to impose on your family at such a short notice, but this marriage has to happen sooner or later. It's fine if you don't love me, I would still cherish you no matter what. But Shizuka household has to pick a side and this matrimony will show our solitary. I hope that you would pick me since our fathers are good friends and it would bring prosperity to our families. Please consider it."

With that being said, Jin rushed out of the room as he felt a suffocating sadness overwhelmed his mind. Even though he doesn't hate Ai, he had never been rejected this bad in his life and a heartache was formed as he thought sadly about the unattainable young miss.

Why does she hate him so much? What had he done to gain such hatred?

Initially, he only wanted this marriage for his family but as time goes, he had grown to be fond of Ai. Why can't she look at him? Why can't she look at him with the gentleness she gave to others? He doesn't like it when someone else talked to her. He doesn't like it when her eyes stray away from him. He wants her to look at him and only him. He wants her to tell him that she loves him. He wants her to tell him she only needed him. He wants her to tell him she would never leave him again. Again? He doesn't know why but it was almost as if he had known her all along.

There was also this dream that had been keeping him up. Ai lay lifeless in his arms as he shook her desperately, telling her not to go, not to leave him.

Ai, please don't go! Ai, please come back to me! Ai, please forgive me! He begged tirelessly.

But no matter how much he begged, she remained lifeless. He had hugged her so dearly, refusing to let anyone near her as painful sobs wracked his body. The pain was so intense, Jin had woken up from the dream crying and sweating all over his bed. But the dream repeated itself cruelly every night, as if punishing him, as if taunting him.

Ever since the dreams started, Jin couldn't bear to be away from Ai and the suffocating fear of losing her again had been haunting in his mind. He can't bear to let her out of his sight for she might disappear again and he doesn't want to face the pain again. He is willing to put down any of his pride if only she could stay with him and he had truly hoped that she would accept his proposal.

Soon after Jin left, Akiyo followed suit as he bid Ai an unwilling goodbye. He had heard of his brother's cries at night and once he walked in to see him sobbing on his bed. Even though he doesn't really like his brother, he is still a family and it seemed that fates were punishing him. Jin would often cry out at night, yelling out Ai's name as his arms flailed around in complete madness as if trying to capture the fragments of her.

Akiyo sighed, it seemed that their souls are linked closely and he wondered if he would have to play a bystander again like his previous life. He let out a self-deprecating smile, it seemed that he was already losing out even before the competition had started. Shaking his sadness away, Akiyo quickly ran to catch up to his brother.

Ai sat on a vacant chair as exhaustion clouded her once more. Even though the proposal was absurd, Jin Omaru was right. Shizuka household must pick a side and they can't remain neutral forever. In that case, Ai has to pick the only other option available and that would be Shion Hozaka. Even though she doesn't want to get involved, she has to make powerful allies to protect her family. At least she won't have to marry Jin and she could only hope that her new decision would not turn out to be like her previous life.