It was nearing twilight, and the setting sun bathed the skies and earth in blood.

Normally, Tilly adored sunsets, often curling up with a cup of tea in one of the wicker chairs placed out on the balcony of her high rise condo to take in the sunset view. 

She enjoyed the tranquility of nature, something that a busy, high powered life in the urban jungle that was the New Apple lacked. So much so that she even bought a private mountain villa a few miles outside the city to use as a getaway. It was her own private space that she didn’t allow even the closest people to her step foot in. It was one of the many Tilly Lin quirks that her family and friends had learned to respect.

And just like any other time, Tilly was speeding along the mountain road towards her little mountain villa nestled on top of a cliff overlooking the sea.

Indeed, it would have been just like any other relaxing weekend drive up to her villa——were it not for the deathly pale complexion and tension filled body sitting in the driver’s seat.

Tilly squeezed the steering wheel of her white Corvette with pale sweaty hands, knuckles protruding sharply and causing the gorgeous diamond ring on her finger to cut into her flesh. It refracted the bloody rays of light from the setting sun in such a way that it appeared she was wearing a pigeon blood ruby, or a crystallized drop of blood instead.

The salty sea water breeze blew through her long black strands. But what once gave her a refreshed feeling, now only chilled her down to her bones.

Nervously, she glanced at the rear mirror, only to flinch slightly as she caught a glimpse of the car that was catching up. At first, there was only one vehicle. But then when the vehicles dispersed she could make out three vehicles in total. One of them was a familiar black BMW.

Suddenly, the phone beside her began to ring. Tilly pursed her lips and swiped at the screen. 

Instantly, a gentle voice sounded from the phone: “Tilly, why did you suddenly leave? Dropping everything without telling me.”

Tilly’s black eyes were cold: “You know I sometimes stay the night at my villa.”

The man on the other end of the line sighed: “Tilly, let’s not act petulant, yes? Come back to the city with me. The company needs you. Your sisters need you.”

At this, fire flared in those cold, dark depths, like flames trapped underneath ice. Tilly couldn’t help raising her voice: “Rainey is sentenced to 30 years in prison for fake embezzlement charges, Misty is officially missing maybe dead, and my parents’ life’s work has gone up in flames! As for me——hah!——several million dollars in debt and hounded by debtors at every step. The Lin family……the Lin family is ruined.”

By the time that outburst trailed off into a whisper Tilly could barely speak and her vision blurred from her suddenly wet eyes. 

But just as quickly as her temper flared it was then brutally suppressed by the young woman herself. Pale, chapped lips curved into a mocking smile and she said: “And you, my husband and the heir to Krane Tech, stood by and let this all happen.”

“……Now, Tilly you know I didn’t know anything about my father’s plan——”

“Save it. I should have listened to my parents’ misgivings and Rainey’s warnings. God. I am such a damn fool. Alexander Krane, you weren’t just a bystander were you? You must have planned it from the start, didn’t you? The naive idiot that I was, it must have been so easy. It didn’t even take 5 years.” Tilly laughed bitterly, raising a hand to wipe at her face.

“I think you might be under too much pressure, Tills. Look, can you pull over it’s not safe to be driving in your condition. I’ve made an appointment with Dr. Maxwell——”

“My condition? Oh, so putting my sister in prison is not enough. Now you want to put me in a mental hospital?” Tilly bit out in a scathing tone before abruptly throwing her phone out the car and over the railing lining the mountain road to disappear into the watery depths. 

She didn’t have time to pay attention to that bastard now, all her energy was used to control the steering wheel. She had a feeling. If she didn’t make it to her villa and to the private helicopter before her pursuers caught up then she could really expect a padded room in a mental hospital.

Tilly knew nothing about auto racing but with a fearlessness of death, she stomped the accelerator all the way down without giving herself even a way out.

Although she got a head start her driving skills were too immature in comparison to the professionally trained drivers that the Krane family employed. Too much time was wasted on turning the corners which gave the people behind an oppprtunity to catch up.

The blood red rays from the sun shone down on the lone woman in the white car, highlighting crimson streaks on that fluttering mane of black that whipped in the wind blowing unimpeded with the car top down.  

Looking at the three cars chasing closer and closer, sweat began to bead on her forehead. And while her countenance still looked calm and unhurried, she couldn’t help but grasp the steering wheel of the car tighter with her hands, her eyes roving the surroundings for anything that could be used……

Accidents often only happen in the blink of an eye. Just as Tilly was searching for something that could be used as a deterrence, one of the two SUVs suddenly accelerated and rushed forward, intending to level with her at the corner and then knock her down the cliff.

The handsome blonde man in the black BMW a little ways behind seemed to see through the intentions of the SUV, and the speed of his car also accelerated in an instant, pressing tightly next to the SUV.

“What are you doing?!” Seeing that the curve was getting closer and closer, he turned his head and shouted to the guard driving the SUV. “That thing is still in the car!” He only cared about the microchip the youngest Lin sister had in her possession, one that contained the latest AI research results from the labs of L&L Holdings. In comparison, the life or death of the woman who was his wife mattered not to him.

Seeing everything that happened in the rear mirror as well as hearing what her bastard husband had shouted in the heat of the moment, Tilly startled and her eyes instantly snapped to the diamond ring on her finger. It was her mother’s wedding ring, the only thing she had left of her parents.

As if it had happened just yesterday, the scene where uniformed police arrived at the CEO office of L&L Tower to take Rainey away in handcuffs flashed through her mind. Just seconds before the door was forced open her older sister had slipped down the diamond ring from her own finger and shoved it into her hands. There was only enough time for her to say: “The code is our parents marriage date, don’t let it fall into thief hands!”

At the time she didn’t understand anything but now it was as if all the dots were connected.

In a race, nothing was more damaging than distraction. It was that brief stunned moment that allowed one of the SUVs to overtake the white Corvette and cut off her path to escape. 

On the narrow mountain road, several expensive cars stopped in a stand off.

Tilly bit her lip as she watched the handsome blonde man get out of the black BMW.

“Now, Tilly, things don’t have to come to this. After Krane Tech take over L&L Holdings everything will solve itself, including the debts incurred by your parents’ company. We can still be husband and wife and everything will go back to the way it was.”

Tilly nearly laughed into that hypocritical face. How could she have ever thought that fake smile charming? Behind that gentlemanly demeanor was an immoral and despicable beast.

“You can stop with the prince charming act. This is what you want, isn’t it?” Tilly deliberately held up her hand, the diamond flashing brilliantly under the rays of the setting sun.

Pale lips curved into a mocking smile as she caught that flash of triumph and greed in those periwinkle blue eyes.

In the next moment, she watched as those lovely blues dilate in shock as the Corvette was started, making an abrupt U turn before heading straight towards the black BMW and the man in front of it. 

Tilly was never more calm than in that moment. Her palms no longer sweat and her muscles were all relaxed. Before anyone could react, the Corvette had crashed into the tail end of black BMW, causing it to swerve off the narrow mountain road and crash through the metal railing. Closely following the black BMW was the white Corvette and its single passenger.

As she freefell in midair, she could hear the satisfyingly pained screams above her.

Before darkness overtook her, Tilly’s only regret was that she didn’t manage to take her bastard husband with her, maiming was too light of a punishment.

Still, at least she managed to do what was entrusted to her. She was not as much of a disappointment as she had thought.

I’m sorry, Mom and Dad, Rainey and Misty. In the next life, I promise I’ll make it up to you all.

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