"You… You are Thirteen?"
In the middle of the day, amidst the trees, a voice in denial rose.
Ling Xian’s expression was sluggish. He gaped at the young, cute, and ignorant girl with disbelief. The look in his eyes was complex and difficult to read.
Even though she was still rather immature, she did not lack in beauty compared to other women. It was easy to predict how her beauty will blossom in the future just based off her delicately shaped brows. Her looks, coupled with her arrogant but not annoying demeanor, and the way she handled the icy blue giant hammers, Ling Xian recognized her immediately.
Since the day they first met, he was fated to remember her name for the rest of his life.
If Ling Xian were asked to name the three most important women in his life during the lost century, Tang Thirteen would definitely be one of them.
The way he met her could not be described as romantic. Rather, it was bloody and violent.
They met after Ling Xian was accepted into the House of Qing Yun. One time, after going into the mountains for training, he was lucky enough to have found an ancient ruin. It was also at that time when he met the graceful and amazing Tang Thirteen.
The two of them fought over a spiritual herb found in the ruin. Because their training was similar in level, they tied in the battle. Both ended up greatly wounded and almost died together as a result.
Then, at that moment, a cultivator who was hiding in the dark attacked them. That cultivator planned to wait for Ling Xian and Tang Thirteen to destroy each other so he can snatch away the spiritual herb and steal any valuables they had on them.
With the appearance of a common enemy, the two colluded and fought against the cultivator until the opponent was killed. After overcoming the hardship together, these two, who were not exactly pleasant with each other, gradually formed a friendship. After tending to each other’s wounds and after they completely healed, they evenly split the spiritual herb and left the ancient ruins.
During the many encounters after, Ling Xian’s feelings for her deepened. Though it was not love, they admired and enjoyed each other’s presence.
At the time, Ling Xian asked Tang Thirteen what her dream was. Tang Thirteen answered with four words.
I desire Ling Xian.
At the time, Ling Xian thought she meant she wanted to surpass the Immortals. However, after speaking those words, Tang Thirteen grinned shyly and blushed.
Ling Xian understood then, how those words of hers had dual meanings. She wanted to both exceed the Immortals and view the world from above, and at the same time, she wanted to be with Ling Xian for the rest of her life.
At the time, he lacked courage. He did not accept nor did he reject. The short romance ended there. It did not root nor did it sprout.
"How do you know my name? I do not know you?" Tang Thirteen was confused. Her gem like eyes blinked blankly, curiously.
"It really is you…" Ling Xian’s eyes remain complex. There was a hint of happiness because the two of them were reunited. At the same time, there was a trace of sadness because she does not recognize him. He no longer knows if everything that happened in the lost century was real or fake. But he thought, not knowing was fine. Real or not, it was no longer important.
What’s important was that Ling Xian was truly existing and that this land was truly existing.
He did not know though, after meeting each other again, would Tang Thirteen again say the words I desire Ling Xian?
Ling Xian softly sighed, unable to guess how the story will unfold and how the future will unravel.
"What do you mean ‘it really is you’? I do not understand what you are talking about." Tang Thirteen pouted. Her innocent looking face made Ling Xian swoon in affection. Is this how she looked when she was just a kid? How cute.
"Hmmph, whatever. Don’t think that just because you pretend to know me and try to get close to me, I will forgive you!" Tang Thirteen frowned and waved around the blue hammers in her hands. "Boy, you hurt my Sister Lian Yi. You apologize to her right now, or I will paralyze you with my hammers!"
Watching the pretty girl pretending to be mean and vicious made Ling Xian laugh. He knew Tang Thirteen well and knew that she was not bad at heart. She was just very playful and adventurous, plus her personality was stubborn. Therefore, she always put on the façade that she was overbearing.
Pity, her visage was too adorable, especially with those pigtails of hers and that childish voice. It was very hard to associate her with the word aggressive. Her forceful ways only made her cuter and naïve.
Taken aback by Ling Xian’s laugh, Tang Thirteen stared him down. "What you are laughing at? If you keep laughing I-"
Before she could finish, Ling Xian interrupted, "What, you’ll kill me with your hammer?"
"You, you… Ah! How dare you finish my sentences! If you do that again, I will kill you with my -"
Tang Thirteen’s face was swollen with redness. She wanted to blurt out 'I will kill you with my hammer', but she realized Ling Xian was just mocking her about it. She choked it down, but could not find other words to say. So, she stood there dumbfounded, looking troubled.
Ling Xian forgot about his image then. Looking at the naïve and cute young girl, he pointed at her with one hand, holding his stomach with his other hand and laughed out loud. "Hahaha, Tang Thirteen, you are too cute. I can’t do this. I did not know that this is what you were like when you were a kid."
"Dammit, watch me. I will kill you with my... No, I will hit you with two of my hammers!" Tang Thirteen was very angry and almost said her catchphrase again. Thankfully she realized her mistake and changed it up a bit.
"What! Is that tiny change allowed?" Ling Xian stuttered.
"Why not! I am smart, and I am a quick thinker." Tang Thirteen was very proud of her own intelligence. She made a face at Ling Xian.
"Yes, yes, Thirteen you are smart and quick on your feet." Ling Xian grinned as his eyes filled with adoration again.
"Wait a second. Why do I need to change my habits? So what if I say I will kill you with my hammers. What can you do to me?" Tang Thirteen suddenly realized something and sneered unhappily.
"Of course I can’t do anything to you. My Thirteen is talented, smart, and divine. One day you will rise above the Immortals. Who dares to do anything to you?" Ling Xian flattered her with a big smile.
As predicted, with Tang Thirteen’s maturity right now, she lost her direction after getting complimented. Walking until she was right in front of Ling Xian, she tiptoed and punched his shoulders with her small hand, "Alright, not bad. You have good eyesight. I have decided to name you my junior brother. What do you think? Are you happy about it? Are you proud? No need to thank me though. Thank your good eyesight that discovered my extraordinariness."
Ling Xian did not know whether he should laugh or cry. He asked himself if she really was the devious and the wise cultivator of the continent, Tang Thirteen. When he met her in the lost century, she was about 10 years older. The difference between the older her and now was too drastic.
"Thirteen, didn’t you say you wanted to avenge me?" Shui Lian Yi could no longer stand by and watch. She softly reminded Thirteen.
"Oh right." Tang Thirteen suddenly realized. She retracted the hand she had on Ling Xian’s shoulder and again faked the mean look from before. "Fella, if you apologize now, it is not too late. Looking at your skinny frame, I can smash you dead with one hit from my hammer!"
5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2020 So Far