A Prince for Mikan

by: Esa MaRie

'Merry Christmas

and a

Happy New Year

to everyone!'

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Chapter 21 - A Deadly Obsession

The light from the morning sun slowly crawled its way towards the bedroom, penetrating into the glass windows through the slight gap uncovered by the sway of the curtains. The rise of the new day greeted upon the couple sleeping comfortably under the sheets. Feeling the warmth of the sunlight against his face, Natsume slowly woke himself from sleep, idly aware of the soft body snuggled against his side. His lips curled into a slight smile as he shifted his shoulder a bit, allowing the head of auburn locks to roll closer to his chest as he slipped his hand to the curve of the girl's waist, drawing her closer to him, savoring her faint sweet scent. He chuckled as he heard her soft snore, her hand carelessly thrown against his chest, totally oblivious of the world as she resided herself in deep slumber.

Absently rolling his fingers against her soft auburn strands, he couldn't help but mutter wryly, "It's much easier when she's asleep." He then glanced up the ceiling, an amused look on his face as he recalled the events from the prior night.

He rested his head against headboard as he waited for drowsiness to fill him, though inwardly, he was waiting for Mikan to come out from her bath. The door lock clicked open and his head automatically turned towards the bathroom door as it opened revealing Mikan wearing his shirt and a pair of shorts that reached below her knees. A smirk crossed his lips, trying to hide his disappointment, as his gaze travelled from her head to her toes. "You look ridiculous, Polka."

He received a glare in response. "I left my bag at Anna's and it's already too late to disturb her," she retorted as she placed the folded gown on the cupboard. "And you're a pervert so I don't trust you at all."

A snort escaped him, but he did not make any comeback. Instead, he moved aside, giving a space for her beside him on the left side of the bed. He laid down and closed his eyes, extending his left arm just below the pillow. He was expecting that Mikan would climb on the bed and position herself on his arm, but a few minutes passed, nothing came. He opened his eyes, glancing to where she was standing, and saw her giving him a weird yet confused look.

Slightly annoyed, he called out, "What are you waiting for?"

He saw Mikan frowned slightly, then raised her hand, scratching her head in confusion. With a sigh, she moved closer and climbed on the bed, settling herself at the remaining space below his arm, curling herself a bit to fit on the bed, then pulled the separate sheet to her chin.

'Just what the heck?' Natsume didn't know if he should be embarrassed or irritated at his assumption. He wasn't planning to cuddle her to sleep. No, he wasn't. He just expected that she would go straight into his arms and snuggle herself to sleep. That was how things was supposed to work, right? He left the opening so she wouldn't have to shy away, but it turned out that the dense girl was too stupid for her own sake. She didn't even notice it!

With a grunt, he got up and loomed over her huddled figure, noticing first the cute frown on her face before he slipped his hands to her armpits and pulled her up towards the pillows.

She shrieked at the sudden movement, then turned her body to face him. "Natsume! What the heck are you doing?!" But before she could get her answer, Natsume had looped his arm on her neck and pulled her back to the bed.

"You were supposed to sleep here, you idiot," he grumbled as he closed his eyes to finally sleep. This was more like it. She really smelled nice that it was pulling his eyelids close.

"What?" Mikan gaped at him. "You can't be serious. You're just being a pervert again!" But seeing that he didn't make an effort to move, she began to whine at him. "This is so uncomfortable! I'm going to have a stiffneck." And as if trying to prove her point, she kept on turning back and forth to get comfortable.

"Just go to sleep, will you?" he almost growled tiredly.

"I can't help it!" she retorted as she got up again, trying to remove his offending arm on her side of the bed. "Your arm is hard. Just remove it so I can sleep on the pillows."

In the end, the idiotic girl got her way and they had slept on their separate sides. Natsume had to snort silently, noting that despite her protests last night, she did found herself comfortable on his arm that morning. So much for the progress in their relationship. But then, Mikan was just too innocent for her own good.

Maybe that was what had pulled him to her. Or maybe the fact that they had been together for several weeks under the pretense of marriage. They had no choice but to deal with each other's attitude and habits. He was left with no other option but to look after her. After all, she remained to be a citizen of the Hyuuga Kingdom and since he had dragged her into this mess, it was his duty to protect her. And that was what all it should have been. He didn't know when it started to change but before he knew it, she had managed to penetrate into his walls.

Maybe that polkadotted panties had been the start of everything. Yeah, that childish red polkadot prints which she had flashed into his face the first time he had met her, and the handprint that had smacked against his face afterwards. Or maybe it was just the impression that she had left on him - that feisty, yet adorably and annoyingly klutz who had captivated him with her insults.

She was exasperatedly clumsy, but ironically, he still find it cute. She would sometimes act like an idiot, but he guess he was just much smarter than her. She was pretty, but he had seen more gorgeous ones. But while other girls had beauty that can get a man crazy with lust and desire, hers was child-like and innocent, a beauty that was enhanced by the pure radiance of her smile, igniting a sense of protectiveness in him.

The girl was definitely driving him crazy that he could almost see that gay Narumi winking at him, telling him that he was in love. Where did that image come from anyway? Love? Pfft. He might like the girl, but love was still too strong a word to describe his feelings for her. He wasn't that obsessed, right? He just like having her around him... no, near him actually. But that was because she amused him and she was real, unlike those pretentious girls he had met in the palace and in the academy who were only after his title and wealth. And yeah, she felt nice in his arms and she was the only girl he actually felt like touching and kissing. And to hell with those other guys who would try to take a claim on her. Mikan Sakura is his, through marriage or not, and Shun Hirazaki can go to hell!


It's not yet love, right?

'Goddammit! Where are these thoughts coming from?' he groaned silently, running his palm to his face, feeling suddenly disgusted at himself. A slight shifting on his arm drew his attention towards the head on his chest, and his expression softened a bit. He should be thinking of what to do next. First, he had to inform Madoka about her scheduled meeting with Tono. Then, he had to bring Mikan to safety, and the villa assigned to the Hyuuga representatives was the safest place in the Hirazaki Kingdom at the moment. But with that plan, he had no choice but to reveal his true identity to her.

Would she be angry at him? He already knew that she didn't have a good impression with the prince of the Hyuuga Kingdom. And based on her confession a while back, she liked him, the spy Natsume, not the prince. She might be shocked, but he was hoping that she wouldn't hate him that much. And if she did, he just needed something to get her preoccupied until the Alicea Festival was over and until she was ready to confront him, out of the prying eyes of their companions.

Just then, an image of a little boy with silver hair and bright green eyes cuddled in Mikan's arms appeared in his thoughts.

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

The oversized shirt swallowed her whole figure making her look like a kid who borrowed her father's clothes. A cute little kid. A smirk crossed his face as he prompted his cheeks against his knuckles, his gaze never left her form.

"Stop that, will you?"

He raised his brow at her words as he casually leaned back on his chair, his crimson eyes continued to follow her as she placed the food on the table. "Stop what?"

"Staring at me. You're giving me the creeps," she muttered as settled back to her seat, hiding the light tint on her cheeks, and tried to concentrate on her food.

A light chuckle was heard from him, then he suddenly asked. "You like kids, don't you?"

Mikan's face visibly brightened. "I love them!" The food on her plate was left forgotten as she began to talk animatedly about the children in the orphanage wherein they had met once.

But the carefree atmosphere was short-lived as his expression turned serious. "Polka, I need to tell you something."

There was a slight edge on his voice that Mikan failed to notice that he used that stupid nickname again. She stopped her talking and stared back at him curiously. It was quite rare for him to look this solemn.

"I need to leave for a little bit," he told her as he stood up. "Pack up all our things and we'll leave this place after I return."

"We're leaving?" Mikan's eyes widened in surprise, but she remembered that Natsume had originally ordered her to go back. So it didn't take much for her to arrive at the conclusion. She stood up as well. "We're going back to the Hyuuga Kingdom?"

He dreaded it but Natsume knew he had to tell her sooner. "Not yet. We're going to stay with the Hyuuga representatives until the Alicea festival is over." He walked slowly towards her. He lifted his hand to her cheek, caressing it slightly, still struggling on how to tell her the truth. He didn't know how she would take it; he even considered the possibility that it would ruin whatever fragile bond that they have at the moment.

"Mikan, I-"

Her hazel orbs stared back into his crimson ones, and he could feel his heart beat faster at the trust he saw in her eyes. His long fingers trailed on her auburn locks, seemingly uncertain as he wondered if it was the right time to tell her. But why the heck was he so concerned about her reaction? He thought it would just be an easy task, but he suddenly realized he couldn't bear to see the look of betrayal on her face.

A knock was heard from the door, making Natsume pause from whatever he was about to say.

Mikan gave him a bewildered look, then glanced at the door, seemingly unsure of what to do. As if sensing her predicament, he let go of her shoulders with a sigh and gave her a nudge towards the door.

She pulled the door open to reveal Anna with a wide grin on her face. "Uhm, did I disturb anything?" she asked with a teasing tone, leaning a bit to peak at the inside of the living room.

But Mikan seemed oblivious to her hidden question. "No, it's okay Anna-chan." She opened the door wider and stepped back to let her in.

"I came here to bring your bag," Anna said as she handed the luggage to Mikan, then leaned a bit closer to whisper, "I was assuming that everything worked out well..." She raised her brows waiting for confirmation, and the tell-tale blush on Mikan's face was enough to answer her question.

"Good morning, Takanari-san," she greeted cheerfully at Natsume.

Natsume had just returned from the kitchen. He gave a nod in acknowledgment of the greeting, pushed his glasses to his nose, then walked towards Mikan. "I'll see you later." He then leaned down and brushed his lips to hers. It was supposed to be a brief kiss, but as soon as he felt Mikan's small hands on his chest, all control left. His arms wound itself into her small frame, molding her body to him. At that moment, he felt like he can't let her go, like something was bound to happen if he let her out of his sight. But he knew he was being ridiculous, besides he won't be gone long.

Mikan lost herself into his kiss, responding eagerly to him. She didn't understand why there seemed to be a sense of anxiety in the way he held her, but as his kiss deepened, all other thoughts dispersed from her mind leaving only him and her and that passionate moment. As he lifted his lips from hers, her mind was still hazy, barely aware of the other person with them. At that reminder, she snapped her eyes open and turned, only to see a red-faced Anna gaping at them, and hastily pushed Natsume from her. "A-anna..." she winced in embarrassment.

"Y-you... you two actually forgot that I'm here?" Anna exclaimed in wonder after she recovered from the shock at the delicious display of their affections.

Natsume just raised one brow at her behind his glasses, forcing a smirk on his mouth. Leaving one last kiss on Mikan's forehead, he turned to leave for the door passing by Anna's side.

Anna blinked as her gaze followed the man's figure in confusion. Was it just a trick of the light or Takanari-san's eyes were red instead of green?

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After a huge deal of persuasion, Tsubasa managed to convince Kaname that he was all well and to allow him come with him to his office to check Mikan's records. He had a strong feeling that the information contained in the folder wasn't enough as it only displayed Mikan's genealogy as to her direct ancestors. There was something that was surely missed out and he intended to find out before they go to Yukihara-sensei.

With the assistance of one of the technical alices to operate the huge database that contained the all the information related to the citizens of the Hyuuga Kingdom, he requested her to get some statistics on Mikan's ancestors on both the sides of her parents for the first three generations, including their siblings. Since the significance of the alice bloodline was important in each kingdom, they had to keep track of the genealogy of their citizens particularly those with powerful and useful alice blood. Most students in the Alice Academy were invited based on their genealogy records, exceptions were made to those who were discovered late. Throughout the years, the technical alices had made continued improvements on the machine to make research on the generations of the alices much easier.

When the report was printed out, he saw that on Mikan's mother side, the number of alices were minimal and as Kaname already told him, they were brought about by marriages to alice families. In comparison, he and Kaname were surprised to see that her father's side had more alice-wielders in their family than they originally thought.

Shiki Masachika and his wife Yuka had two children. The eldest was a girl named Mariko while the youngest son was named Kyouta. Mariko had only one daughter, while Kyouta had two sons and one daughter. Tsubasa had requested to get the statistics on each of the grandchildren. The descendants of Mariko wherein Mikan's line was included had very few alices in them, but majority of the descendants from each of Kyouta's children were alice-wielders. It seemed strange since for the next two to three generations, they were still listed as non-alice wielders. Suddenly alices began to pop up from the next generations. Weird though, it took a several generations before an alice appeared from the eldest child of Kyouta. What more, a number of alice-wielders in the family had a common code BARR. The barrier alice. And that alice appeared on several descendants from all children of Kyouta.

"I only focused on the direct ancestors of Mikan, so didn't try to check on her other connections," Kaname murmured as he stared at the screen, noting that a few family members had moved out of the Hyuuga Kingdom.

"It's possible that the older generations were not yet aware of the barrier alice," Tsubasa added, wondering if it was possible that the nullification alice was mutated from the barrier alice.

"This is still too farfetched Tsubasa-kun, what about Kyouta's wife?" Kaname argued. "It's possible that the trace of the barrier alice started from her side."

"I already had it checked. The possibility was close to zero," Tsubasa said. "The only possibility is that either Shiki or Yuka, or maybe both of them were alice-wielders without their knowledge. Though it's impossible to make any conclusion as there was no other information about them aside from what we have."

After bringing the screen back to the original diagram, the operator excused herself as Tsubasa took over her seat, then glanced again at the screen. The tree diagram only included the details of the direct descendants of Mikan Sakura, he still had to click the names of the siblings to expand the diagram and show their respective descendants. He was randomly clicking over the other names to check if there was any common alice he could find. He drank the remaining contents of his cup as he reached the name of Kako Sakura, sister of Ichiro Sakura, when the pointer mistakenly clicked on the name of his wife, thus expanding her side of the family.

The cup he was holding fell on the floor, but he was oblivious at the loud crash made by the impact as he gaped at the added names on the screen.

Ichiro Sakura (NA) - Kanae Hirayama (NA) - Eiji Yukihara (1) (A: ELCY, LOGY)


Chiwa Satou - Izumi Sakura (NA) ....... Kazu Yukihara (2) (A: LOGY,ALDT)


.......Mikan Sakura (NA)................................................................................

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"Thank you so much, your Highness," Narusawa said gratefully as she bowed her head to him.

"It's the least I can do," Natsume shook his head as he stood up, then turned to Madoka. "Make sure to explain everything to Tono. He should be the one to make the proposal as not to draw any suspicion on my involvement with you and the rebels. I will give him my support so Jinno and Narumi will agree to the plan."

"I understand, your Highness," Madoka said warmly. "We will all help to expose the inhumane activities the Hirazakis had been doing to the captured alice-wielders."

They had exited the room when a pair of small feet came running to them, throwing himself into the prince's waiting arms.

"Papa!" Youichi wound his small arms around Natsume's neck as he reached down to lift him up.

"Are you sure you want to take him?" Madoka asked, quite worried for the boy. Even though he seemed to really care about Youichi, she doubted that the prince would adopt him as his own son. The possibility was that Natsume will find a home for Youichi and it would surely hurt Youichi to be left again by the person he had considered to be his father. And even if the prince was willing to adopt him, there was still no assurance that the ministers or the people would accept him considering what happened to Persona.

"Don't worry," Natsume told her as if he had read her thoughts, ruffling the boy's mop of silver-gray hair. "He will be taken care of."

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

As Anna helped her with her packing and cleaning, she recounted the events of the previous night, of course skipping some parts which she meant to keep to herself. She apologized to Anna and told her that they will be leaving the apartment as soon as possible. Anna looked crestfallen at first at the thought that she will be losing a close friend, but she was more happy for her friend that she insisted that they should celebrate the couple's reunion. Together, they prepared some food and desserts that they will feast on upon Natsume's return.

After their work, Anna shooed her to take a bath and change from the clothes that she had borrowed from Natsume. She chose a simple, yet cute pink dress that Natsume had bought her before, and after she was satisfied with her looks, she went back to the kitchen and found Anna in the midst of her favorite hobby, making some delicious-looking cupcakes. Anna glanced up from her work, and sent out a teasing smile at her.

"Takanari-san won't be able to keep his hands to himself later, eh?" she asked, raising her brows.

Mikan turned red as she recalled having Anna to witness that scene. Trying to change the course of their conversation, she peered over her friend's masterpiece and commented. "That looks so good."

Anna just gave her a knowing smile, as if telling her that changing the topic won't work on her. Mikan just ignored her teasing look and reached for a glass and poured water into it.

"So, I assume there's a Natsu Takanari, Jr. coming?"

A choking sound was heard as Mikan sputtered on her drink. She turned sharply at her friend, her hand wiping over the excess water on her mouth. "A-anna! W-what in heaven's name are you saying?!" she cried.

Rolling her eyes at Mikan's reaction, she began to laugh. "Come on Sakura-chan, you don't have to be shy about it," she teased the red-faced girl. "You're already married, girl. My parents used to be like that. After reconciling on a huge fight, they would lock themselves in their room for a couple of days doing you-know-what. Seeing that scene a while ago, I guess you and Takanari-san are like them too."

"Anna-chan!" Mikan's cheeks were already tomato red at such talk. She wasn't that naive not to realize what she was talking about. But she was surely going to embarrass herself if that talk continues, considering that all she and Natsume had done was kiss and literally sleep together. But then, only the two of them knew that their marriage was a fluke. "I can't believe you!" she cried at Anna's laughter.

She was saved from further embarrassment when a knock was heard on the door. Since Anna was already finished with her cupcakes, she reached for Mikan's sleeves when she was about to go to open the door.

"I'll do it," Anna volunteered cheerfully. "Takanari-san returned earlier than expected. Better get yourself ready to greet your gorgeous husband."

Mikan just sighed at Anna's teasing tone, but following her advice, she went back to her room to look for a brush.

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

As she heard the lock clicked, Anna turned the knob, but before she could pull the door to see the visitor, she was slammed back against the floor as the door was forcefully opened.

The loud crash alarmed Mikan and she came out of the room and saw Anna slumped on the floor. "Anna-chan!" Mikan cried out as she ran to help her friend. She saw Anna wince in pain at the impact caused by the door and looked up to see five men dressed in black enter her apartment.

"W-who are you?" She wrapped her arms around Anna, feeling suddenly scared at the presence of the unknown men. She felt a tremor pass through her skin as she summoned her strength to face the intruders. "W-what do you want with us?"

"Who among you is Sakura Takanari?" The first one who entered asked. His voice indicated that he was the leader of the group. He looked ferocious with the long scar on his face that started from his ear towards his jaw. His long black shaggy hair tied into a ponytail and two swords were sheathed at each side of his hips.

"W-what do you w-want with me?" Mikan couldn't stop her voice from trembling.

His menancing eyes assessed all her features. "Where is your husband?" he demanded.

'Natsume? Why would they look for Natsume? Have they discovered that he's a spy from the Hyuuga Kingdom?' she wondered nervously. "I d-don't know. He left a while ago."

"Eh? So our prey isn't here?" the tall man with ash-colored spiky hair complained loudly in disappointment, throwing his huge weapon against the wall, marking a crack on it. His eyes then turned towards the women on the floor, his gaze lingering on Mikan. He leaned forward and harshly grabbed her arm.

"Quite a pretty little thing you are. Pity, I wonder what your husband had done wrong for him to summon you," he said crudely to her ear.

His breath stinked with traces of alcohol that Mikan immediately tried to pull her arm from his grasp. "Let go of me, you brute," Mikan cried as she continued to struggle, but her efforts were wasted as he was so strong.

"Feisty, eh? I like feisty women," the man smirked as he pulled her and snaked his arm on her waist.

Having left with no choice, she drew up her knee and tried to hit his sensitive part. Although she wasn't able to make a full contact, she managed to catch him offguard, sparing her a split of time to reach for the nearest object, a vase on the table and crashed it on his head.

The man growled in pain, but it wasn't enough to even weaken him. Without any second thought, he lifted his hand smacked Mikan across the face, sending her unconscious on the floor.

"Sakura-chan!" Anna shouted as she got up to help Mikan. "You bastards!" But before she could do anything else, she received a kick on her stomach which caused her to double in pain before passing out.

The others were left watching in bored amusement at the drama as they were already immune to scenes like this. Usually, their team were sent to hunt down criminals and rebels, and oftentimes it would get bloody when the other parties would give out a fight. So seeing their hot-headed teammate bully a pair of helpless women was a waste of time. But with the wound on his forehead inflicted by the auburn haired woman, things were going to get dirty. The spiky haired guy called Katsuo was known to be merciless and he would pay back double of any pain inflicted to him. Even if it was against a woman.

His eyes was filled with lust when he turned to the other man. "Hey captain, can I have her first?"

"We don't have time for this, Katsuo," Asato sighed, trying to control his patience.

Katsuo's mouth twisted as he glared at his superior. "You promised me that I'll have my way on any woman I chose after you stopped me from going after that wench the other day. I need to teach this bitch a lesson."

The captain Asato rubbed his forehead in irritation. Katsuo was the most troublesome of his men, but he could always get away with anything he did as his father was a powerful nobleman and has close connections with the higher-ups. Even though he was the captain of the squad, he couldn't put his full authority over the abusive sons of the nobles. First and foremost, they have to power to destroy his hard earned work. Second, Katsuo will do whatever suited him whether he liked it or not. "Fine, but be quick. We need to get back to the palace with the woman."

Among the five men, one stood back leaning against the wall, uninterested in what his comrades were doing. He only came with them because it was a direct order from the king, and being a member of the squad, he was left with no choice but to follow. He heard the satisfied laugh from Katsuo as he gave a tap on his captain's shoulder. He felt pity for the woman who will become one of the bastard's victims. He turned his head, just enough for him to catch a glance at the unconscious woman's face being lifted by his comrade. He stiffened as that familiar face flashed into his mind.

That face had a very striking resemblance to portait of Queen Yuka. He wouldn't have remembered if not for that little incident the night before when he saw Cool Blue Sky staring at the painting. And as he thought of it, she also looked like the girl who hugged his raven-haired beauty.

His heart began to ram into his chest as he was rooted into the floor. Katsuo had already carried the girl into the bedroom while the others started to search the place around for anything that they could bring back into the palace. He remembered clearly what the king had ordered to them. "Bring the woman named Sakura Takanari to my presence and kill her husband, Natsu Takanari." No other information was divulged, and they immediately assumed that the husband was a criminal. But it was unusual for the king to specifically ask for the spouse of a criminal... unless he needed her for something important. And that girl is a friend of Cool Blue Sky...

Without another thought, he ran towards the bedroom, much to the surprise of his comrades, and kicked it open. He found Katsuo looming over the woman, tearing the front of her dress.

"What the hell-?!"

Before Katsuo could say anything further, a gust of strong wind threw him off the girl, crashing him against the wall.

The other guys rushed inside the room to see the furious Katsuo as he got up from the floor and was about to attack their other comrade, but was again thrown off by the wind, knocking him against the side table

"Matsudaira, you bastard!" Katsuo growled in anger. "What the hell's wrong with you? Do you want to do her first, huh?"

But Hayate Matsudaira stood calm and firm as he met his raging gaze. "The order from the king was to bring her at all cost. If you harm her even before we know what is wanted with her, you could risk our position." His eyes narrowed at the rotten bastard. "Think with your brain, not with your dick."

"Why you!" He lunged for another attack, but their leader interfered.

"That's enough, Katsuo," Asato commanded. "Hayate has a point." Turning to Hayate, he placed his hand on the soldier's shoulder. "I apologize for my lack of judgment. I'm putting you in charge of carrying the girl back to the palace."

"Tsk. Just because he has an elemental alice, he feels like he is already above us," Katsuo muttered in disgust as he spared him a dirty look.

Hayate ignored him and walked towards the bed. It always irked Katsuo that a nobody like him was in possession of an elemental alice, an alice that was far greater than his own. But even though that could not change the fact that his family had nothing except the wind alice in his blood. His mother worked as a maid to one of the nobles in the Arisugawa Kingdom, who was also a relative of the royal family. The lord of the house had gotten her pregnant, much to the anger of his lady wife. His mother was chased off the Arisugawa lands and was forced to settle down in the Hirazaki Kingdom, the farthest among the kingdoms, and borne him to this world. Even though they were poor, they were happy with their simple life, and he was content as a child playing his favorite game with Cool Blue Sky in it. But everything changed when his alice was discovered. He was forced to enroll into the Gakuen Alice and was heavily trained to manipulate his powers. He was taught to dedicate all of himself - his life and blood to the kingdom, doing their dirty works.

Reaching the side of the bed, he removed his coat and covered her torn dress, then gently lifted her unconscious form into his arms. As he walked out carrying her, he wondered if saving her from Katsuo would do her any good. After all, Katsuo was in good terms with the king, and at the worst possible case, he would be in trouble for using his alice against him.

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

Kazu stepped out from his office carrying a small luggage that he would need during his stay in the Hirazaki Kingdom. Although the king had originally told him that he would arrange for permission to use teleportation for him to reach the host kingdom, he had declined since he didn't want to be treated differently from the other representatives. Even the 'prince' had used regular transportation to reach the Hirazaki lands, he wasn't going to make himself an exception. Besides, he doubted that the knowledge of his other alice had leaked out. Until now, it had remained as a well-kept secret and only a very few number of people knew about it. But still, the king wasn't taking any chances and had prepared a separate vehicle for him along with some bodyguards to ensure his safety.

The black dressed men bowed their heads as he passed them, heading towards the vehicle. The chauffeur opened the door for him to get in when an alarm was sounded echoing throughout the academy walls.

"There's a disturbance in the barrier. Someone had managed to penetrate using Teleporation," one of the school staff hurried over to report to him.

His brows furrowed at that. The school's barrier was one of the strongest in the whole of the Hyuuga Kingdom and it was almost impossible to penetrate into it, unless the intruder knew of the weak spot in the barrier which was only known to a few and only existed for emergency cases. And as if his thoughts were answered, a shout was heard.


Glancing up, he saw Kaname Sono coming down the stairs in brisk steps, followed by a dark blue haired guy he recognized as Tsubasa Andou. Their other companion, a petite woman wearing a familiar uniform stayed up the stairs. That explained it. No wonder they managed to penetrate into the barrier. Olana was Kaname's trusted right hand in the Citizen Registration building, one of the Teleporters who was trained on the emergency locations to transport people in case of attacks.

But in any case, it was still a violation. If there was an attack, he should have gone to the palace first or to the head of security. A frown showed on his face as Kazu stared at the younger man. "Kaname-san, you know the rule about Teleportation in the academy," he started.

Kaname bowed in apology. "I'm sorry sensei, but Tsubasa-kun needs to talk to you. It's important."

Kazu turned his head to look at the other man.

Tsubasa also bowed in head in greeting to his previous teacher. "In private please, sensei."

Giving out a sigh, Kazu knew that Kaname wouldn't go this far if it wasn't that important. He gave out some brief instructions to his bodyguards before he led the two back to his office.

"I hope you both know that you have delayed my trip for this," Kazu reminded them as he settled on his seat, then nodded his head for them to sit down. "Now, how can I help you?"

Kaname turned and caught Tsubasa's gaze. At his friend's nod, he pulled out a picture from the folder he was carrying and placed it on the principal's desk.

"Sensei, can you tell me if she's an alice?" Kaname asked.

Dropping his gaze towards the picture, Kazu felt himself stiffen as he saw the familiar face of his niece. 'Just how-?' But he immediately recovered from his surprise, and with a calm mask he lifted his eyes from the picture to face his former students, hoping that they would play his bluff.

"I believe you got this from her file, so why are you asking me?" he casually asked, but his eyes were sharp as he observed the two.

Tsubasa saw Kaname hesitating, and the principal's vague answers appeared quite suspicious on Tsubasa that he had no choice but to interrupt.

"Sensei, Kaname had told me the truth about your alice." At that, Tsubasa saw the sharp look directed by the principal to his friend, as if waiting for a plausible excuse for such actions. He decided to lead the explanation as not to trouble Kaname anymore.

"The file of Sakura Mikan says that she was born as a non-alice. And her file had been reviewed twice with the same results," Tsubasa began his explanations. "But I had encountered some people who were after her." He saw the principal's brows creased as he listened attentively to his words. "They were quite sure that she has an alice, and a very rare one at that."

Kazu Yukihara remained silent as his stare lingered on the picture on his desk. He looked calm and composed, but Tsubasa noted the slight tightness in his jaw and the worry reflected in his eyes. After a long while, he broke the silence. "What do they know about her?"

Tsubasa didn't have to stall his answer. "That she has the alice of nullification."

He heard the principal let out a heavy breath as he pushed his chair back then stood up. He walked and stopped by the shelves, his gaze unfocused as if he was in deep thought. "And what have you learned about her?"

Tsubasa cited the facts he knew about Mikan, letting him know that he had fully investigated on her. "Right now, she is in the Hirazaki Kingdom and if that fact becomes known to those men or their leader, she will be in danger," he finished. He would have included that she was with the prince but it was a secret that he wasn't supposed to give. He saw the principal fingered a picture frame that was toppled down on one of the shelves.

"Is that all?"

There was a challenge to that question that he immediately knew that the principal was aware of his own relationship with Mikan. Kazu had already turned to look at him, waiting for his response. Tsubasa met his gaze and answered. "I know that Mikan Sakura is your niece."

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

Reo couldn't help but notice his friend's strange behavior since that morning. Shun was gone for most of the morning and when he returned, he stayed up in his room pacing back and forth as if waiting for something or someone. When one of guards reported that a group of their riders were seen approaching, his expression was a mixture of anxiety and excitement. He then rushed out of his room, leaving Reo no choice but to follow him towards the throne room.

Shun walked towards the front where his father sat on the throne together with Persona and Kounji at each of his sides. Still a bit confused by what was happening Reo followed him and stood by his side.

"What's going on? What are you getting agitated at?" Reo whispered.

"Nothing." The way Shun responded indicated that he didn't want to be interrogated further.

Just then the bronze doors were opened by the guards, allowing three men to come inside, the last one carrying what seemed like a bundle.

'Mikan!' Shun wanted to meet the soldiers halfway in order to take the unconscious Mikan from the soldier's arms, but he controlled himself. He waited for them to reach the foot of the platform. His blue eyes narrowed at the black coat covering the dress Mikan, noticing that it was somewhat dirty and torn. But before he could ask anything, his father beat him into asking.

"What happened to her? What about the Natsu Takanari?"

"She was being difficult," Asato replied. "I have left the other three to wait for Takanari's arrival."

Shun kept him emotions cool as he stepped down from the platform and approached the unconscious figure of Mikan. He lifted his hand towards her face, gently turning it a bit, only to see a rather large ugly purple bruise on her right cheek. His hand shook a bit as he reached to remove the black coat, revealing her dress that had been ripped from the front to the waist exposing her thin camisole which was also partially torn.

His face remained expressionless but his eyes were blazing with rage as he directed his stare to Hayate. "Who touched her?"

The Asato had immediately noticed the change in the aura of the prince, but before he could say anything, someone answered.

"The bitch deserved it after she tried to fight back," Katsuo interrupted. He was still determined to have her and make Hayate eat his words. "She's quite a prize, eh? I bet her husband will rise from his grave to know his pretty little wife was getting fucked up by-" He wasn't able to say more, when a strong force smacked against him, slamming him against the wall.

He wasn't given time to realize the prince's true state of emotions. On the other hand, everyone inside the throne room were rooted with shock as they beheld the scene before them. Prince Shun Hirazaki was more known for his carefree behavior, oftentimes escaping from training. And truth to be known, none of them had ever seen him getting angry. But the anger seen in his expression right now was far from normal. Murderous intent filled his eyes as he lifted his hand and a ball of water emerged from the floor encasing the fallen soldier in a water-filled bubble.

"Shuntaro!" the king shouted but Shun heard nothing as the bubble lifted to the air, the soldier inside in a desperate struggle for air.

"Shun, you'll kill him!" Reo rushed down to try to stop him by grabbing his arm. But Shun pushed his hand away, sending his friend to the floor.

In a desperate attempt to stop his son's lost of sanity, Takashi summoned his own alice to break off the water bubble. Water splashed everywhere as the Katsuo fell on the floor unconscious. The guards stationed immediately rushed to their fallen comrade. But it wasn't enough to stop Shun. With just a movement from his arm, all the guards were thrown back and the water began to rise up again forming into a hideous beast to draw the final blow on the unconscious soldier.

Reo got up and gathered his strength to restrain Shun. "Calm down Shun!' He had no choice but to use his alice, and though it worked a little, Shun's anger was still on the verge of eruption, only restrained by the voice pheromone alice..

"Nothing happened to her, your Highness!" the man carrying Mikan shouted. "He was stopped before he could do anything to her! Aside from the bruise on her cheek, she was not harmed!"

That voice seemed more effective than Reo's alice and Shun immediately calmed down, the water beast followed suit, dissolving into the air. "Let me go, Reo."

Reo released his arms as he felt his friend's composure returned. His earlier rampage had brought a sense of fear on the other occupants of the room as they hesistated to what to do. Except for the older ones, most had never seen how frightening an elemental alice can be when used at its full potential, and they knew that what they had witnessed wasn't even a pinch of the damage that the alice could inflict on them. They watched as Shun walked towards Hayate and gently took Mikan's unconscious form to his arms.

Seeing his calm state, some of the uninjured guards began to check on their comrades. Feeling the slight pulse on his hand, one of the guards shouted to the others, "Get the doctors quick!"

"Let him die," Shun said coldly. "Even if he lives, I will have him thrown to the dungeon. Else, I will kill him myself." He then turned his back towards the doors, intending to leave for the bedchambers when the king's voice boomed.

"Shuntaro, I command you to stay." His glare then directed to the other occupants of the room. "The rest of you, leave at once!"

"What is the meaning of this Shuntaro?" Takashi broke the silence after the others had left them alone with Reo, Persona, and Kounji. "You want to kill one of my best soldiers for the sake of one woman?" When Shun had asked him for a favor last night, he thought it was to punish the woman who had made a fool out of him. But looking at his son's face as his expression softened everytime he glanced down at the woman in his arms, he couldn't help but think that he was the one who was made a fool of. His son wanted the husband dead and he asked for the woman to be brought to the palace even by force. He clenched his jaw as realization dawned on him on his son's plans. He couldn't stop himself from releasing his frustration. "Are you out of your mind? That girl is married!"

A twisted grin crossed Shun's face as he met his father's glare. "Not anymore. You gave me your authority to have her marriage dissolved."

Takashi was taken aback by that announcement. "What?!"

"You have forgotten father?" Shun cocked his brow at him. "You had given me full authority to do whatever I want with regards to Sakura Takanari, or should I say, Sakura Kawamura." His smile was wide as he made an emphasis. "In full writing with your seal."

Takashi felt his blood rush to his head in anger. "You're going to marry her?!" he exploded. "You're going to marry that commoner?!"

"Shun..." Reo reached out for him but stopped when he caught a glimpse of the girl's face in his friend's arms. His eyes widened as he finally realized for his friend's obsession with the girl. "That girl... " he whispered, then lifted his eyes to his friend. "Are you crazy? You're going to marry a girl just because she looks like Queen Yuka?"

"Queen Yuka?" Takashi was appalled at the idea. He hadn't gotten glimpse of the woman's face, but the thought of his son getting crazy over a girl that looked like that cursed queen was something he couldn't accept. "I will not allow this, Shuntaro!" he yelled at his son.

"You only have one heir father. Don't make me turn against you," Shun said calmly, his gaze unwavering. "You know that my alice is stronger than yours." He then turned to walk out of the throne room, carrying Mikan in his arms.

Feeling his knees weaken at his son's stubbornness, Takashi fell back on his throne, and buried his head on his hands. Persona walked closer to him, trying to calm him down, while Reo rushed out to follow Shun.

No one had seen the sly smile on Kounji's face as his eyes strayed at the throne door where the prince had left.

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

Balancing the young boy on his arms, Natsume tried to put the key into the hole when he realized that the door was open. His brows creased as he slowly pushed the door open. His heart stopped when he noticed that some of their things were in dissarray. It was then he saw an unconscious body lying on the floor.

"Mikan!" he shouted as he pushed the door open. He placed Youichi on his feet and rushed to kneel at the girl's side, only to notice that hair spread on the floor was pink, not auburn.

"Umenomiya!" he shook her. He heard her moan a bit, recovering her consciousness before opening her eyes. "What happened? Where's Mikan?"

Anna blinked, her vision still a bit groggy. "Mikan?"

Realizing his mistake, he rectified it immediately. "My wife! Where is she?"

Anna stiffened as the events just a few hours ago came rushing back into her. She wasn't able to stop herself from shaking and a sob escaped her. "I don't know. Some men just suddenly came in looking for you two. I lost consciousness so I'm not sure what happened to her."

Natsume clenched his fist and slammed it against the floor, not caring of the pain as his mind was filled with images of what might have happened to Mikan. Who could have done this? He bent his head, his hand gripping his raven hair. Was he discovered? Did someone recognize him when he entered the Hirazaki palace? But no, he was sure no one would have recognized him back then. That means that this was just a random attack made by thugs in the area? His thoughts broke off when he heard footsteps coming near then stopped at the entrance.

"Heh, so you're Natsu Takanari?" Two men stood by the door, grinning.

Pushing himself up, Natsume stood still, his dark crimson eyes burned behind his glasses. "Who are you? What do you want with us?"

"You," the red-haired man answered casually. "There is an order to kill you. So just behave there and I'll make it quick and easy so you won't have to feel a slight bit of pain." A cheerful grin crossed his face as he looked at his prey. "I'm quite merciful you know."

"Where's my wife?" Natsume ignored his taunts as he stepped away from Anna. He knew he could deal with them but distance himself from Anna and Youichi and he had to know Mikan's whereabouts first.

"Oh Onida-kun, how sweet," the other man Kitami snickered along with his companion. "You don't have to worry about her. She will be in good hands. That is if she managed to survive what Katsuo will do to her. That spoiled guy always get what he wants anyway."

"But don't worry, I'll make sure you'll be there first in the after life to greet her when she finally goes home," Onida laughed as he took a napkin by the table and held it between his middle and index fingers. "This will be fast, that I assure you. And I'm going to do it just using this piece of table napkin." With that, Anna's eyes widened as she saw the piece of soft sheet straightened turning it into metal.

"Papa!" Youichi tried to run towards him but Anna was quick enough to catch him.

But the boy had caught their assailants' attention. "Your son, eh?" Himuro had a snide look in his face. "I guess he will be an orphan if you're gone. Don't worry though, we can make use of him."

"Stay back Youichi!" Natsume slightly turned his head to warn off the boy. Without warning, the sheet of metal came flying aiming at his head, almost in synch with Anna's scream. Despite his swift reflexes, Natsume barely managed to dodge the weapon as he threw himself down. Sharp metal objects was continuously thrown at him as he rolled off the floor and got into his feet, kicking the small coffee table to block the attacks. But before he could rest a bit to sort out a plan against his attackers, he was lifted into the air and thrown against the wall.

'Shit! A Levitation alice!' Even before he could recover from the impact, he was again lifted into the air, making him vulnerable to Onida's weapons.

"Come on. Just admit defeat and it will be much easier for you," Onida told him as he shaped a shard of glass into metal.

The bastard's smile was getting into him. But he had not undergone such rigorous training just to be beaten by these pathetic losers. He knew he could beat them even without exposing his alice. He quickly reached for the small knife on his waist and threw it against Kitami, catching him offguard, making him lose control of his alice. He immediately caught himself during his fall, landing safely on the floor. Acting quickly, he threw the nearest object he could find towards Onida which unfortunately was a pillow cushion but he needed it as a distraction in order to find a more appropriate weapon. The cushion was shredded into pieces before it landed on Onida's face, the cotton and feather stuffing showering everywhere in the room.

"Play time is over, you bastard!" the irritated Kitami shouted, giving a nod to his companion. Understanding the signal, Onida dropped his hand on the ground turning all pieces of broken objects into sharpened metals. Using his Levitation alice, Kitami suspended all the sharp objects into the air pointed towards Natsume who was only holding a broomstick for his weapon.

"Stop hurting my father!" Youichi cried as he struggled against Anna's hold. "Papa!" With the burst of his emotions, his alice began to go out of control. Dark figures began to form from the mist and surged forward to attack the two intruders.

"Goddammit! The boy is an alice!" Kitami shouted as the demons attacked them. He swished his arm to wade off the underworld creatures, throwing the sharpened metals into random directions. He was getting annoyed at the attacks that he used his alice to lift Youichi off from Anna's arms. "Your alice won't work on us, brat!" he laughed, levitating the knife that Natsume had thrown against him.

Anna's scream echoed throughout the entire room as the knife hurled towards the helpless boy suspended in the air.

Everything happened so fast that one moment the boy was in a split of a second from death, the next moment a wall of fire blocked the attack, spreading the flames into a circle imprisoning the two intruders within it. "What the-!" Kitami backed a step away. "A fire alice?!" He wasn't able to say more when a ball of fire came roaring towards him.

"No way..." Odina whispered in horror as he witnessed his comrade screamed in pain as the flames consumed him to his death. He started backing away, but the flames behind him flickered wildly blocking his escape. "A Hyuuga?" He caught sight of a shadow of a man walking across the fire and as soon as his figure became clear, he saw Natsu Takanari without his glasses, his eyes burning crimson.

"Where is my wife?!"

The murderous intent on his voice was evident. "I can't tell you..." Odina knew he was no match against the most dangerous elemental alice, but he was sworn to an oath as a soldier. He would never back down on a fight, especially against a Hyuuga.

Natsume lifted his hand and a fireball formed above his palm. "You will tell me or you will burn to hell."

"Then I'll take you with me," Odani retorted bravely as he surged forward towards his opponent, drawing his sword. A smirk crossed his mouth as he saw the fireball going straight at him. He thrusted his sword forward towards the fire alice wielder, letting his body be consumed by the fire. But before he felt his life finally leave him, he gave one last burst of his alice, extending the sword's blade to pierce his opponent's flesh.

"Damn it!" Natsume cursed as he held his wounded arm. After he threw the fireball, he knew that the man would never survive it. But he underestimated his will to fight back. 'A Metal Manipulation Alice,' he thought wryly. It was an alice that can turn anything he touch into metal, as well as manipulate the shape of any metal. It was a suicide attack and that guy would have succeeded if he had placed his guard down even for just second. He slowly got up to his feet, scanning over the damage to their apartment.

"T-takanari-san..." He turned to see Anna gaping at him, still holding the weakened Youichi in her arms. "Y-you're a H-hyuuga?"

"I don't have time to explain things for now, but we need to get out of here fast," he said as he walked towards the bedroom to get his things.

"W-we?" Anna squeaked behind him, as she gently placed Youichi on the bed.

"More of them are going to come here. This place is no longer safe for us. You're coming with us Umenomiya-san," he told her. "Gather your important things." He then saw a familiar canvass bag near the bed.

"That's Sakura-chan's," Anna whispered as she saw the hardened look on Natsume's face.

Natsume got down, lowering his left knee as he reached for the bag, his hand clutching the cloth fiercely to his fist. "Mikan..." he whispered, his earlier composure broke down as he closed his eyes, a mixture of frustration and despair in his voice. "I swear I'll find you."

۞ ۞ to be continued ۞ ۞

Some notes:

LOGY - Longevity

ALDT - Alice Detection

ELCY - Electricity

The (2) after the name of Kazu Yukihara means that he's the second alice child of an alice parent. In here, he's not the eldest child and that his father had another child with his first wife which had inherited his alice. You might wonder why. It's because it would be weird that his father did not dig deeper to discover his alice if he was the indeed the only son.

I actually promised zoooaaa that I would update this on Christmas, but work and christmas activities got in the way. I sure underestimated how hard it is to update. Anyway, sorry for this late update.

So now you know why I wrote a lot of fluffs at the start of the chapter. Hope that could last you readers for some chapters. haha. This is one tough chapter to write. I don't know if I'm any good at the action parts, I feel like my vocabulary was shrinking that I keep on running out of words to use. I think many are going to hate me for ending this chapter this way. I actually had to cut some scenes at the end because of the chapter length. It seemed that my past chapters had been very long (as if this one isn't) so I'll try to trim it down a bit next time.

Again, thank you all for your kind reviews and hope you enjoyed this chapter (I guess only the beginning part though)... I think I missed to answer some of the reviewers. I'm just in a hurry right now so I guess I have to edit this later or send you PMs in response to your questions.

Thank you to...

Najika Tsubasa-chan, JeZ-Amutolover110, JCqueen, A Violet Sky, ..., greentulip

AnnabelleAnneKC, 3lizab3thLizzy, Cocoa!, noriko3, Nina The Flamecaster, JJ

MakesMeZingy, Erilin-chan, Smilylily, rei141, fantoomx54, Junior Lover, SweetieSakura

hikaru718, amulet-anime7, Sitting in the Silence, kgl, uki chan, jad???

Larsie0316, Shikyo Kuranosai, natsumikan123, Skittles-chi, Youichiix33,

bakagirl123, The Manga Witch, BunnyParfait, vanilla, sakura, WHY AM I SO OBSSESED WITH THIS

Xythri, WinglessDreams, Queen Tiria, Aphrodite's Apple, Peaniko, myster-queen, Tainted Roze

kazukarin, moonacre99, .3rrY., FlameMistrez, x'bLuE-AnGeL'x, Queen Tiria, Xythri

sakura, Hellix D'ell, vanilla, poohbarney

Missfire1, Little-Miss-Giggle, chello-chan, SilentiumDeity, sonamy4eva22, Miss Otaku, Tearful Reunion

kaWaIi TanGeRinE, diamondarrowmage, Polkadots24, chainedheart999, Dorawc

SinShu: haha. That's just impossible. No, she's not Yuka's daughter.

Flying Snowflake of Hope: Sorry, my mistake. :) I'll try to change it later.

minahoru: Don't worry, I haven't reached the point wherein I'm planning to retire from writing fics. Though I don't update that much often nowadays,

reading and writing fanfics is one of my favorite past times. Hmm... so very long chapters aren't that good eh? It just so happen that I had already decided on the scenes that would appear on one chapter but sometimes it getslonger as I add more details into it. I guess I have to shorten it a bit.

DamageReport: lol, I'm not planning to change the rating into M.

zoooaaa: I finally updated this! hehe! hmmm... what do you mean I should go into hiatus after the story is finished?

CARohanne: Nah, I don't think I can ever be a professional writer. haha. But thanks anyway.

April: I'm aiming to finish the whole fic before 2011. That is if I get to update every month.

PEPS: Kounji has the clone alice wherein he can create a clone of himself at half of his age. For example, his age is currently 50, his clone will be 25. So if the older clone dies, the younger clones will remain to continue his plans. It's like he has an eternal life. I'm not really sure of the extent of his powers in the manga, but I added in this story that he has the capability to transfer memories from one clone to another, making him almost the same person. I'm not going to reveal much of him because it will be revealed in later chapters.

WinglessDreams: Yuka Azumi was originally married to Yuki Heihachi. The marriage was dissolved and she was forced to marry Yamato Hirazaki. As for Shiki... I'm not going to reveal it just yet. Try guessing, ne?

sootyxsnowpetal: Thanks, I guess I should be flattered that you're desperate for new chapters. teehee. Yeah, most readers look forward to the fluff scenes, but well I'm trying to focus more on the plot to get it moving. The romance scene is just an added bonus. I don't want to end this fic with a lot of loose ends so I'm trying to connect everything bit by bit. Lol. That's why I say the Gakuen Alice manga plays a big inspiration on the plot this fic because a lot of the scenes were based from the events in the manga. So if you're not updated with it, you might get confused with some of the events and the characters. Though I had to include a number of OCs here.

JustWriter2: haha. Not really lewd, it's because he has a goal to achieve

agay: the chapter is the conclusion of the masquerade ball so yeah, it's a chapter in preparation for the next scenes

Essouffle: In the manga, not here.

crimsoneyes44: I had to admit to that. sigh. Making chapters this long really does push my grammar and vocabulary to the edge.

CarJanLucy: My country is still the Philippines. I just work abroad right now.

callie ^_^: Medyo doubtful pa ko kung cno ni... hehe... Nagreview ka gd man!

frowninggivesyouwrinkles: not yet. he only saw the stealing alice, but he wasn't even sure what it was.

SnowMelody: I think that's pretty understandable. The first chapters were written 2 years ago

dragonslay: no problem. I can't say 'Get well soon' since this is past overdue. So well...

bakasaru264: I'm flattered I'm the recipient of your first review. I'm not

sure what you mean by 'this is not the real Azumi Yuka.' Just know though that

the characters are based from the manga, therefore there are going to be some sort

of similarities.

Heartbroken Confession: I'm not sure...

Obsessive Child: Thanks. I do try to keep them in character, although I have to admit that in some sweet moments, Natsume can be a bit OOC (in my opinion).

Euploea midamus: I think I remember you. Were you the one who asked to translate this in Chinese? hehe.

BrokenAztech: Yup, yup, Pinay ako.

L's apprentice: thanks for the rating. :) yup, no smut here 'coz a lot of the readers are still kids.

SnowMelody: Actually, the original plot is just a simple Cinderella story. I only thought of the legend and Hirazaki stuff after I've finished Chapter 2

when I was wondering on how to incorporate a much solid plot into the Cinderella theme.

mountainelements: lol. I can guess you haven't been updated with the manga. Hayate is a dangerous ability student who has this weird infatuation with Hotaru. I believe that Hotaru looked like a character he loved so much during his younger years and he keeps calling her 'Cool Blue Sky.' I really can't reveal all the secrets in one go, that's why I try to write longer chapters in order to cover more scenes as possible. If I limit myself to just 2000 words a chapter, I'm not sure when I will get to finish this fic. I'm really itching to put a closure on this one because I haven't completed a multi-chaptered story since two years ago.

LarkasBlessing122291: I have to admit the first chapters weren't exactly my best. Maybe it was my best effort two years ago. haha. I guess my writing style did changed after three years in FFnet.

luna cherFer: Yeah, the timeline can be quite confusing.

anitsirhc: Actually there are several good Filipino authors around FFnet.

Assassel: what do you mean 'happened?'

Asahi Shin'ju: Well, you got it.

Thunder blossoms Fire: look who's talking. haha.

haPpy08: Nagniwang na kuno sya. haha. I guess it's quite confusing for now, but hopefully

everything will be resolved.

Chocolateoverdose: I don't have school. I have work. XD

some teenager: There's a reason why Shun is acting that way. You'll know in

the later chapters.