Sounds of high notes echoed inside the luxurious bathroom. In the middle of the aesthetically decorated room, a woman was enjoying the company of wine and opera music. Her short hair was drenched of water and her right hand was holding a glass of Vineyard 29 Cabernet.
She was humming along the music of Verdi's Aida. It was splendidly comforting. She sipped the wine trying to savor the rich taste. She smiled feeling satisfied. As expected of an expensive wine, the taste still lingered in her mouth.
She was living a carefree life inside her villa located near the coast. A view of the ocean could be seen from her window. The villa wasn't grand, but inside was a sight to behold. Every furniture made from the highest quality, crystal chandeliers hang illuminating her creme colored vintage curtains, the floors were designed from intricate marvels. Ning Lou smiled reminiscing her adventures for the past years.
She was originally an orphan who lived on the streets. Like a rat, she had rummaged trash bins for leftover foods, and begged people for coins. She would often get beaten until half dead just for one stolen loaf of bread. Sometimes, she would starved and chewed on her ragged clothes. During winter, she slept on the cold pavements with only the newspapers and cartons as sources of heat. She didn't know any relatives and no one looked for her.
Eventually, a criminal syndicate abducted and taught her ways to swindle people. Around the age of 8, she swindled people on the streets and earned 100 dollars per day. At the age of 10, she swindled cafes and grocery stores. When she was 13, she posed as an orphan and swindled a total of twenty families of their money. By the age of 16, she impersonated a professor in a university and forged her records and resume. She got the job and earned a lot, along with the money she got from online extortion. She created a total of 30 aliases by the age of 20. She also posed as a general manager of a renowned company, Atelius. She had withdrew a total of million dollars from several deposit accounts in separate banks of Atelius. It took three days for them to notice the large sum deficit, but it was too late to find the culprit because she already flew thousands of miles away.
The organization split the swindled money and gave her 20%. She took it and separated from the organization. She didn't stop swindling, and started to target renowned politicians. She became an online sensation with her code name 'Little Flower'. She extorted politicians using their dirty secrets in exchanged for ridiculously high amounts.
However, her days weren't all that successful, in between her ventures she got caught and placed in prison cells. It was not a good experience but she was able to escape using the most unusual ways. She pursed her lips recalling the good old days.
"In this world, you need to fend for yourself." She was exposed to cruel reality in her earliest years when she was supposed to be an ordinary kid playing dolls with her neighbors' kids.
She stood up and wrapped a towel around her form. Placing the glass in the tray, she poured herself another drink. Today was tiring, the Federal government along with the with the security departments of several countries had issued a unanimous order to capture 'Little Flower' for interrogation. She could already imagined several federal agents with their helicopters searching for her, turning every nook and cranny.
She managed to spot this island after her escape from Country X. It was off grid and located at the borders of several countries, a good spot to lay low.
Suddenly, her phone at the tray rang and vibrated. She bend and grabbed it with her left hand. Glancing at the screen of her phone, she frowned. Why is he calling?
She greeted the caller, Fei Xu. He was one of her scattered 'colleagues' across the globe. A white collar hacker and the top 5 of FBI's most wanted lists.
"Little Flower, how are you?", a playful voice was teasing her.
"Four-eyed Xu, what are you calling me for?", she raised her eyebrows along with her question.
"Little Flower, the autumn season is around the corner and around 25 days and peonies shall wilt with it.", Xu's voice turned serious.
"The F*ck, why are you calling me now!", she yelled at the speaker.
"Hey, Little Flower, quit yelling. Instead, you should thank me for a 20 minutes heads up. And a reminder, you don't pay me for the services at all." He cut the line and left Ning Lou agape.
'Just you wait Four-Eyed Xu!'
She tossed the disposable phone on the tub. Then she grabbed the glass and gulped the whole content. What a waste of good wine! Her lips pursed staring at Vineyard Cabernet.
Her beautiful face became placid. As a veteran con artist, exuding confidence was a serious matter. With a calm and steady gaze, she got out of the tub. She grabbed the wine bottle and smashed the contents at the curtains. She also snatched the lighter on the tray and lit it up, throwing it on the stained curtains.
She felt reluctance leaving her paradise, but that Four-eyed Xu already spotted several agents 25 miles away from the coast. Oh well, this villa wasn't originally hers, so burning it up won't tear her heart.
Suddenly, the floor rumbled and she lost her footing. By the time, she came to her senses, her feet was on the air, and her head hit the bottom of the tub.
Ning Lou's eyes slowly closed as she unexpectedly kissed her life goodbye. Her body continued to sink in the water. She felt her body getting heavier.
When she opened her eyes again, she found herself submerged in the water gasping for air. She swam with difficulty to the surface.
'What's this, how did the tub increased in size that she was able to submerge her body.'
When she reached the surface, four slim hands pulled her out of the water. She didn't get a better view at them because her eyes were drenched, and her throat was filled with strange taste, but it didn't taste soap at all, which made it stranger. Did the liquid soap she dumped was expired, because it tasted like those in the sewer?
She coughed the water out of her system. She tried to pat her chest but she stopped and groped them instead. The Heck, how did these two become bigger! How did my planes become hills?
"Your Highness, it's a good thing you're safe. Otherwise, this servant will lose her life. The heavens was watching over us."
She was startled hearing a cute and panicky voice. When she looked up, she saw 2 girls wearing ancient costumes like in those Chinese period dramas she watched on TV.
She stood up and backed away fast. Are these two FBI's interns? And what's with the ridiculous costumes?
She shifted her gaze to find some escape routes but what greeted her was a landscape of blooming flowers, rock formations, and a wooden patio. What kind of place is this?
A splitting headache made her wobble. She shook her head trying to stay conscious. But she failed to, and the worst part was- memories of an unfamiliar person registered her brain making her dumbfounded.
This was the first time Ning Lou was swindled. "Heck, I'm screwed. I take it back, I chose prison instead." At least there are chances of escaping there, but in this place, she probably need to wait for Einstein before she can escape, because she somewhat traveled to an era in Chinese History she didn't know of.