Lin Qingyang didn’t know if he was overthinking, but at least after the last change of courtyards, he thought that his relationship with Chu Lishu had progressed. However, reality proved otherwise.
Chu Lishu seemed to revert to the initial attitude he had towards the original body, maintaining a flawless and artificial facade of goodwill. There was nothing to pinpoint, yet it always felt like there was a thick layer of separation.
Every time Lin Qingyang obtained something valuable, he would actively try to please the male lead, hoping to increase his favorability and change the fate of being a cannon fodder sooner.
In order to prevent the male lead from thinking he had a persistent pursuit, Lin Qingyang would always present gifts to Chu Lishu and Xu Wenze in the name of sending them to both. He believed that the male lead could surely discern his carefully measured attempts to please.
Lin Qingyang was confident that this level of goodwill wouldn’t disgust or repel anyone.
However, to his surprise, every time he sent gifts, the former object of his secret admiration, Xu Wenze, was genuinely appreciative. On the other hand, the male lead, Chu Lishu, whom he pretended to admire, seemed to have frost accumulating in his deep eyes. Despite smiling, there was an icy demeanor that intensified with each attempt, no matter what approach Lin Qingyang used.
For the last time, Lin Qingyang presented rare fresh fruits to both Xu Wenze and Chu Lishu. Xu Wenze smiled and said, “Brother Lin, you’re really amazing. You managed to get these. Winter jujubes are my favorite in the winter.”
“Have a taste, and after you finish, come get more from me. I have plenty.” Lin Qingyang looked at Chu Lishu, and in an instant, he was stunned by the suppressed anger in Chu Lishu’s gaze, as if a shard of ice was piercing through him. “Do… do you not like it?”
Chu Lishu, however, smiled faintly and spoke in a friendly tone, “I don’t like this. Since Brother Wenze likes it, let Brother Wenze handle it for me.”
“That means I’m taking advantage then.” Xu Wenze smiled and said, “I have some persimmon cakes that my family sent. Brother Lin, you can take them back and share with Young Master Qi.”
“Well… thank you.” Lin Qingyang received the persimmon cakes with a buzzing head.
Doesn’t like winter jujubes?
Did he remember it wrong again?
Why does he keep getting the preferences of the male lead wrong recently? Is it because the original novel plot is too distant, causing confusion with other male leads from different stories?
Sneaking a glance, Chu Lishu had already sat down to read, completely ignoring him.
Now Lin Qingyang realized that he was probably disliked. Sending things he didn’t like was indeed a clumsy move.
All the previous coincidences that he misunderstood as a deepening relationship were indeed naive thoughts. The male lead was not that easy to get close to.
He could only temporarily stop trying to please. Fortunately, with the current level of interaction, as long as they met face to face that day and spent some time under the same roof, the basic requirement for the mission completion would be fulfilled.
However, this morning, Lin Qingyang heard some unfortunate news. Tomorrow was considered a self-study day here, designated for students to reflect and review, arranging their own time.
Typically during this time, the more diligent students would stay indoors to study or improve their skills, while those more relaxed would use it as a break. People like Lin Qingyang and Qi Yan would sneak out to have some fun. If someone came to check the courtyards, they would ask their little brothers to help cover for them.
This time, Qi Yan was, as usual, planning to go out and mentioned wanting to visit a young attendant in the Secluded Courtyard Pavilion. He asked Lin Qingyang if he wanted to join.
He naturally declined the invitation, but what bothered him now was that this situation meant he wouldn’t be able to stay under the same roof as the male lead for an entire day. Given their current relationship, could he brazenly squeeze into their courtyard for some time?
Lin Qingyang felt anxious.
In the afternoon, they had a refined arts class.
Today’s class happened to be about traditional painting. Lin Qingyang inherited everything the original body knew. Combining that with his past life experience in painting, he found it quite interesting. However, today he wasn’t in the mood.
As the hour approached, Qi Yan, who was sitting beside him, cleared his throat. Lin Qingyang was drawn to look up and happened to see Chu Lishu and Xu Wenze coming over.
One was fresh and elegant, the other dignified, both dressed in the same gray-blue attire, yet exuding different styles as they walked side by side. It was indeed a picturesque scene. Passing female students would sneak glances, whispering to each other.
Lin Qingyang felt envious. When would he be able to walk with his own background music, attracting the attention of girls?
The two men looked at Lin Qingyang.
Xu Wenze smiled in response, while Chu Lishu, despite the courteous gesture, showed no signs of communication in his gaze.
Lin Qingyang had only one feeling: it was freezing!
But with his current low points, he needed to plan ahead and could only force himself to speak, “Cousin, I had some difficulty understanding a few literary writings today. Could I come to seek your guidance during the self-reflection session tomorrow?”
Chu Lishu maintained a gentle curve at the corner of his mouth, yet his eyes showed no signs of thawing. “Tomorrow, I have to help the head master organize the library, so I’m afraid…”
Lin Qingyang’s face turned embarrassingly red, and he quickly said, “No problem, no problem.”
In fact, Xu Wenze had already noticed the abnormality between them. He thought Lin Qingyang was trying to show goodwill to Chu Lishu, but Chu Lishu clearly wanted to refuse. This relationship probably reached its limit.
Fortunately, Lin Qingyang had changed for the better. He no longer bullied people recklessly and had a sense of propriety. To be honest, recently, Lin Qingyang’s calm and reasonable demeanor had made Xu Wenze gradually change his opinion. He found that he could get along well with this version of Lin Qingyang.
He could tell that Lin Qingyang was an easygoing person.
Xu Wenze, with his gentle temperament, noticed Lin Qingyang’s embarrassment and wanted to say something to help him out. “If you don’t understand, you can ask during the lecture, but…”
Just as he was about to continue, someone suddenly approached. “Elder brother.”
Although male and female students attended classes together, they usually didn’t cross into each other’s territories to talk.
The one calling “elder brother” was clearly a girl.
Lin Qingyang looked up and saw two girls wearing light pink academy uniforms walking towards them, both looking lively.
The one calling him was none other than Xu Wenze’s younger sister, Xu Rui’er.
The girl who came with Xu Rui’er, holding hands, was someone Lin Qingyang was more familiar with.
The original body had a full-blooded eldest sister, Lin Qinglan, who was already married. The girl who came with Xu Rui’er was none other than Lin Qinglan’s sister-in-law, Ying Xiaodie.
Lin Qingyang had initially thought about informing them of their relationship, but upon seeing Ying Xiaodie’s glare.
Lin Qingyang: …
Well, this disdainful look is quite similar to his own younger sister, Lin Qingwei. However, he remembered having only a few encounters with this girl, Ying Xiaodie, and they hadn’t really interacted. Why did she seem to dislike him so much, showing such clear hostility?
On the other hand, Xu Rui’er had explained their purpose. In the upcoming painting class, the students would be going to the back mountain to paint landscapes. Everyone would usually form groups to choose a location for their paintings.
Xu Wenze’s painting skills were undoubtedly excellent, so Xu Rui’er wanted to team up with him and Ying Xiaodie during the upcoming landscape painting session.
However, as soon as Xu Wenze heard this, he straightforwardly replied, “I’ve already made plans with someone else, it wouldn’t be convenient.”
Xu Rui’er then said, “Is it Young Master Chu? Young Master Chu can join us too, right?”
With a barely noticeable furrow of his brow, Xu Wenze found it challenging to directly reprimand Xu Rui’er for her somewhat inappropriate suggestion. Given his emphasis on propriety, he generally wouldn’t team up with other young women in such situations. To avoid the unfamiliar Ying Xiaodie, he had already come up with an excuse. However, his half-sister’s persistence made it genuinely difficult for him to gracefully step down.
In the midst of the dilemma, suddenly a voice sounded from behind.
“Sorry, Brother Xu has made plans with me. Do you want to join us?”
Xu Wenze was momentarily stunned. When he turned to look, he saw Lin Qingyang raising an eyebrow at him, a teasing smile playing on his lips. It was evidently intentional. Xu Wenze quickly caught on and played along, “Yes, I’ve made plans with Brother Lin.”
As soon as these words were spoken, the two girls froze, their expressions turning less pleasant. Xu Rui’er wanted to say something but found herself at a loss for words. Ying Xiaodie, on the other hand, shot a fierce glare at Lin Qingyang.
Lin Qingyang found it amusing, thinking, “I knew you disliked me. Look at you glaring at me. Time to teach you a lesson.”
Just as he felt triumphant, a chilling sensation crept up his neck, as if being stared at by a venomous snake.
Turning his head, Lin Qingyang didn’t see anyone looking at him. The only presence was Chu Lishu, with his perfect profile resembling an ice sculpture.
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