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Home > Reborn: Runaway Bride

16 Boys and Girls in the Red Light Distric

 Recap:

Just as Ai reached the gate, Kiya rushed towards her and passed a letter to her. It had Shizuka insignia with emergency written on top. Blood immediately drained from her face... don't tell me...

___

Filled with immerse worries, Ai immediately ripped open the letter.

Baby sis!!

The neighbouring prince went missing and Papa is panicking! We are currently at the border searching for the prince. But we don't have enough manpower to search into Shinto so please help to look for him! In case you didn't know how the prince looked, I drew a portrait for you!

P.S. Big brother will owe you his life if you help him out this time! I promised not to get married and will protect baby sis with my whole life!

Your dearest big brother,

Saitoooo <3

The moment Ai finished reading the letter, she felt like throwing it away and ripping it into pieces. This is definitely a false alarm! Her brother almost shocked her into a cardiac arrest because of the "emergency" and she cursed internally. Saito and his melodramatic antics are going to be the death of her.

Letting out a big puff of breath to calm her mind, Ai looked at the letter one more time. Right now things might not seem like a big deal but she knew better. If something happened to this missing prince, there would be tensions with the neighbouring country and the safety of her family will be implicated. Knowing the nature of "snakes" in the council of five, she would better act now than be sorry later.

After analysing the content of the letter, Ai felt relieved at the thoughtfulness of her brother for drawing the portrait until her eyes reached the said portrait. Nevermind, she takes back her words, she wants to kill Saito now. The portrait that her brother drew was... to put it mildly, abstract. The person in the portrait did not even resemble a human and she would say a street kid would draw better than her brother.

With no plausible lead to take her next action, Ai dreaded her next action. She would be heading in blindly but she needed to do something urgently. Based on the letter, there seemed to be no signs of a struggle and the prince seemed to have snuck out on his own.

Considering the prince to be a healthy young man with needs, Ai thought of a place he would visit. Brothel.

(All the young men in Shinto: Did Ai thought so lowly of our gender that the first place we would visit in a new location is a brothel??! We are not savage beasts! *Shed tears of feeling wronged*)

With that thought in mind, Ai dragged Kiya and both of them changed into noblemen outfits. Sorry big brother Saito, we would be borrowing your clothes for a while.

In a matter of minutes, the duo arrived at the streets of the red light district. As expected, the streets were bustling with drunken men and colourfully dressed prostitutes.

A few of the bolder prostitutes made a pass at the two impeccably dressed young *men* while the shy ones fluttered their eyelashes flirtatiously. After all, this was indeed a rare sight considering how beautiful the young men were. One slightly cold with immortal-like beauty while the other, a mousier one, was dressed in extremely expensive robes. Both of them literally screamed money and prestige and even getting their hands on the mousy one would have made their night.

Oblivious to the longing stares of the prostitutes, Ai and Kiya made their way towards the most famous brothel, Madam Ru's pavilion.

Rumour has it that Madam Ru only houses the best courtesans that are skilful in all the womanly arts and its reputation had exceeded far beyond Shinto. The prince would have heard of its reputation and if he was in Shinto, it would be the first place he would head to.

Soon, the duo reached their destination and politely requested the guards. "I would like to speak to Madam Ru."

Immediately as Ai finished speaking, a woman in her mid-forties ran out and ushered them in excitedly. These young men looked loaded and it was just fortunate that she was just debuting her best musician today! The rare beauty was stuck at one of her restaurants unable to pay the bills for the foods consumed and using that as leverage, she managed to secure a contract. Now she just has to wait for these rich little greenhorns* to lay their eyes on the beauty and earn from it!

Thinking that her plan was indeed perfect, Madam Ru led Ai and Kiya towards the centre of the building. Among the crowd of excited men, there sat a courtesan holding a guzheng*. The lady was very beautiful despite her face being half covered by a veil and she was actually very tall. She could be as tall as Shion Hozaka, if not more, yet it only added to her charm.

Ai watched feeling conflicted as the courtesan scanned the crowd and her eyes landed on her. There was such familiarity in the pale blue eyes of her and it almost seemed like they lit up as soon as they landed on Ai.

Soon, the courtesan began playing the Guzheng as her eyes stared fixated at Ai. A heavenly voice sang out, neither too low nor too high, singing about betrayal as the skilful hands played with the strings expertly.

For some reasons, Ai felt guilty as if the song was directed at her and she struggled to pull her eyes away. After what seemed like eternal torture of guilt, the song came to an end and everyone clapped in awe and admiration. Despite the melancholic nature of the song, the musician was very talented and many wouldn't mind spending the night listening to the tunes of such exotic beauty.

As fast as lightning, Madam Ru, who had been observing silently, rushed to the courtesan. In her mind, this rare beauty was indeed a visionary for picking out such a gold mine and she was very happy that the beauty had enchanted the aloof-looking rich boy.

"If you can secure a night with that young master, your debt is fully paid" Madam Ru whispered discretely to the courtesan.

The courtesan nodded immediately, almost looking extremely eager. Madam Ru smirked, as long as she gets the money she didn't care what method was involved.

As if almost on cue, a voice that almost guaranteed to be a greasy old man rang out, "Send the beauty to my room, I like her."

The courtesan immediately paled at the man's voice and her eyes snapped towards Ai's direction, pleading desperately.

Ai faced a dilemma. She came here to get information about the prince, not to rescue some young courtesan. Yet the begging eyes was too hard to refuse and Ai felt her resolute crumbled.

Sighing, Ai raised her hands, signalling the courtesan to be sent to her instead. The courtesan's eyes lit up happily while Madam Ru eyes lit up with dollar signs.

"Are you sure you can afford her, young master? She is our most talented musician, it's not cheap!" Madam Ru replied greedily as she looked at Ai from head to toe.

Ai wanted to roll her eyes. This greedy pig of a woman, I can afford a courtesan just fine, she wanted to retort. But deciding that she needed information, Ai just nodded and walked to the nearest private chamber. Since she was spending money on this courtesan, she might as well just question her.

After a few minutes of being in the room, a soft knock was heard and the courtesan came in. The veil was still covering her face and she looked up coquettishly at Ai.

As if like a trained professional, the courtesan reached out to the bottle of wine to pour her a cup. Ai immediately put a hand to stop her. She only came here to question and soon she would be heading back out.

"Have you seen a foreigner recently?" Ai asked her.

The courtesan tilted her head slightly in confusion, "A foreigner?"

Ai grew embarrassed at her stupid question. "Well, I mean someone that is not from Shinto. I would say a rich young man. Someone that looked like he was perhaps a prince from a neighbouring country?"

Suddenly the courtesan laughed. The laugh was very hearty and lack of inhibitions. It was almost like... for the lack of better words... manly.

Ai and Kiya froze staring at the apparently very beautiful but manly-laughing courtesan. Noticing their stare, the courtesan lifted up her eyes.

"You mean me, Wifey?" The courtesan replied as the veil was removed to reveal the very same face she ran away from this morning.

The only words in Ai's mind: FML