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Home > Reborn: Runaway Bride

12 Annual Ball

 A few days had passed since Ai's father and brother had left for the border and the day of the annual ball had finally come.

Ai did not want to attend but there was no way she could avoid it. Sure she could bribe an official to fake her attendance but that would raise too many questions, especially from her family.

It's not that Ai did not trust her family. But if they were to find out about her reincarnation and what had happened in her previous life, she was worried they might become even more protective of her and get hurt in the process. That was something she could not accept. She had long decided that if there were any harms towards them in this life, she would shoulder it alone and only her. They had done too much for her before and it's time she protects them in return.

Shaking her thoughts away, Ai decided to get dressed for the ball. Even if she did not care for fancy aristocrat ways, she had to be dressed appropriately to showcase her family's prestige. After all, status was everything in this society.

With that in mind, Ai picked a light grey kimono with blue and gold floral motifs. She then layered it with quality silk white robe and flowy dark navy outerwear to complete. Overall, her outfit was modest yet appropriate for the occasion.

Once Ai had finished her looks by adding blue and gold accessories to her silver hair, she walked slowly towards Kit's room. She had yet to talk to Kit since that night and perhaps it was a good idea to bring Kit along to the ball. For some unknown reasons, Kit's presence made her feel safe.

Gently knocking on Kit's door, Ai asked if she could come in. There was a pause, with no sound coming from inside at first. Then she heard some scufflings and the door immediately burst open to reveal a flustered-looking Kit.

Kit's mouth was hanging opened in an O shape as he took in the sight of Ai. His young miss looked regal and posed as her household colours adorned her in a majestic manner.

Before Kit could stop himself, his arms immediately reached out to pull her to his chest tightly. Engulfing her in a warm hug, he sighed contentedly. It had been a while since Ai had approached him and his mind was running wild with woes. But now that he finally saw her, it was all worth it.

Shocked by the unexpected reaction, Ai stood still as the young blonde man continued to mutter "Thank God" repeatedly. His hands were moving up and down her back in a soothing manner and to others, the scene probably looked like Kit was comforting her. But to Ai, she felt as if Kit was trying to reassure himself. For what reason, she did not know.

After a long awkward period, Kit seemed to recollect himself and moved to stand a few feets away. He looked up at Ai sheepishly as a light coat of red dusted across his face and ears.

"I'm sorry, Ai, I just... acted on impulse." Kit muttered, his eyes looking anywhere but Ai.

"Oh, it's alright" Ai lightly replied as she looked at the blushing young man.

"Kit is so cute! He is like an adorable younger brother she never had! Eh, please excuse this sad excuse of an older sister for perving on you when you were asleep!" Ai thought as a slight blushed formed on her cheeks.

Kit stared curiously at Ai as she started blushing out of the sudden. What was she thinking that made her blush, he wondered. It better not be one of those smelly young masters!

Oblivious to Kit's train of thoughts, Ai proceeded to talk about why she was here and what to expect at the ball and Kit was only half paying attention until she mentioned something that caught his interest.

"What? Shion Hozaka?" Kit asked in disbelief as he repeated Ai's words to confirm his suspicion.

"Oh yeah, I was shocked too, hahaha! Who knew he would be interested in the annual ball?" Ai responded as her shoulders shook lightly with laughter.

Kit felt dreads forming inside of him as he took note of the new turnout of events. Initially, he was only worried about Tamaki Yunes and the Omaru brothers since Shion Hozaka had the pristine reputation of not being around any woman. Many people often thought that young master Hozaka was a hermit and doomed for a monkhood.

But if he asked her out, the rumours might not be true and Ai seemed to be completely ignorant of those intentions. Kit wanted to laugh, his young miss thought that Shion Hozaka was interested in the annual ball when it was her that Shion Hozaka was interest in.

A sardonic smile formed on Kit's face as he sighed deeply. Just how many competitions does he have to fight to keep Ai to himself? Not to mention, all of them were high-profile noblemen and she was only gonna add more to the list by going to that wretched ball!

Time Skip

After a short carriage ride, the duo arrived at the venue, the Hall of Moonlit Garden. Moonlit Garden is the most prestigious location that the royals and nobles go for events and currently owned by none other than the stinky bug's family, Yunes Industry.

Speaking of the stinky bug, an excited voice yelled the moment Ai stepped into the premise.

"Aiiiiiii! You came!! Are you here to accompany me?!" Tamaki shouted as he ran out immediately from greeting the guests in an undignified manner.

Ai wanted to roll her eyes, not only did she has to be wary of Jin Omaru, but she also needed to be careful of this fluttering bug. Tamaki wore a hideous orange attire that was bright enough to blind the sun and she squinted her eyes slightly at the intensity.

"Young Master Yunes, it's great to see you, where might the young master Hozaka be?" Ai asked as she curtsied Tamaki politely.

"Huh? Shion? Wait, why are you looking for him?! Don't tell me .. he..." Tamaki trailed off as a gentle arm immediately wrapped around Ai's waist.

"Yes, Miss Shizuka is my date", Shion replied as he smoothly escorted Ai away.

Due to her shock of being approached suddenly by Shion, Ai had completely missed the look of triumph that Shion passed to Tamaki as they walked away.

Kit had watched the whole incident unfolded with careful eyes as the apparent rivalry broke out between the two young masters. Perhaps the best thing for him was to let them fight among themselves and if there was the last survivor, he would just kindly put him out of commission.

With that in mind, Kit decided not to interfere as he started to follow Ai silently. Just as he was about to walk past Tamaki, a hand shot out, obstructing him.

"You seemed familiar..." Tamaki Yunes said his cold eyes accessed Kit carefully.

"I'm just a lowly servant of Miss Shizuka, young master Yunes, you might have seen me around." Kit replied steadily despite his heart hammering greatly. He had miscalculated, Tamaki Yunes was not an easy opponent.

"Hmm... I see" Tamaki replied as he nodded his head slightly. Kit briskly walked forwards as Ai entered the ballroom.

"Young Master Hozaka and Miss Shizuka" a servant announced their arrival as every pair of eyes in the room turned towards them.

Jin Omaru was sulking and drinking his wine when the sudden announcement was heard. Ai, she is here now! He immediately whipped his head towards the direction of the entrance, only to have his breath taken away, literally.

Just as Jin wanted to continue to admire the stunning woman in blue, he started coughing violently and struggled to breathe as the wine he was drinking went into the wrong direction of his airway. A gentle hand patted his back as he struggled to regain his breath. He smiled appreciatively to the person who helped him and it was none other than his partner for the annual ball, Miko Yamato.

Miko was a beautiful woman with lilac hair and adorable pair of innocent eyes and as expected of a noble lady, she had the perfect manners.

At first, Jin was hell-bent on taking Ai to the annual ball but his clueless father had informed him that Ai already had a partner and he would have to attend with Miko Yamato, the daughter of Shinto Magistrate. Even though he wasn't happy, he had no choice but to accept or else he would end up with no partner like his pathetic brother.

Speaking of his brother, Jin wondered where he had gone, only to find the silly cad cosying up to Ai blatantly. Anger started to burn in his vein as he noticed Ai being held closely by Shion Hozaka. What the! Isn't this dude a celibate?! Ai should only be in my arms!

Jin stood up immediately as if to confront, only to be stopped by a pair of delicate hands. Miko Yamato looked up with tears in her eyes as she tugged at his sleeve while shaking her head no. Jin, being a self-proclaimed gentleman, couldn't bear to leave a crying lady so he sat back down and hugged Miko gently.

Ai stared at the familiar scene across the room. Her eyes were empty and void of emotions as she stared in fixation. It was almost like time had stopped and she was transported back to the time of her suffering.

Of course, she was familiar with this scene. This was one of the scenes that drove her into maddened jealousy. In her fatal obsession, Ai only saw the competitors and sought out to destroy them as she desperately tried to find her place in Jin's heart. Just a little bit, just a little bit of his heart would have sufficed. Yet the promised love never came. Instead, disgust and contempt from the man she loved filled her days.

Laughing out bitterly, Ai drank the cup of liquid in front of her. She did not care what it was, poison or sweet nectar, anything to numb her pain, she would drink it.

Ai was so involved in her own thoughts, she missed the varying looks of reaction from the young noblemen who were watching her closely. The four pairs of eyes that were watching her, two curious and concerned while the other two looked like their hearts were cut out of their beings.

Aikyo had wanted to greet Ai the moment she arrived and immediately rushed to her side, only to find her in the embrace of another man. Shion Hozaka, the young master of Hozaka Trading had held her as if Ai was his priceless possession that he was afraid to lose and stuck to her side. He had also noticed Kit standing in the shadow with the helpless expression and somehow he sympathised with the other man. In the midst of their conversation, Ai trailed off as she stared blankly at the table across. Many expressions had run through her delicate face, with one being singled out, Pain.

Shion watched Ai silently as concern flitted across his usual composed eyes. He wondered what had made this young lady suffered so much that she looked like she was on the brink of giving up. Pulling her closer slightly, Shion protectively held Ai. He did not know what she had gone through but he did not want her to suffer any longer.

Across the room, Tamaki looked with curiosity as he stared at the broken expression of Ai. He also did not know what had caused her to react this way but... the pain that she displayed. It was addicting. Raw, unbridled and unrestrained. Tamaki had not seen anything... anything more wonderful than this and it was like he couldn't get enough of it. A blush bloomed on his face as the infatuation started to form in the heart of a twisted young man. At first, he was just bored and wanted to play with this proud young woman. But after seeing this, there was no way he would let her escape him and no matter who, he would surely eliminate them.

(Author Note: Activate, Yandere-Kun!)

Translation: For those who don't know, Yandere-Kun means a male gender who fits the archetype of being extremely romantic but also very possessive that they are truly psychotic. They were usually twisted and complex personalities and will remove anyone that becomes an obstacle to their pursuit of something or someone.