Lin Qingyang stared wide-eyed, unbelieving of what he was witnessing.
Even though his eyes struggled to adjust to the dim surroundings, Lin Qingyang immediately recognized the person before him—it was Chu Lishu.
They were currently in an extremely cramped rectangular space, pressed almost completely against each other.
It was the male lead who forcibly pulled him into this confined space.
Being alone in such a place was already difficult, but with two people, it became hard to breathe. Especially since Chu Lishu had covered his mouth and nose, probably to prevent him from making any noise that might expose them. However, he was struggling to catch his breath.
However, Chu Lishu completely ignored him, remaining vigilant as he observed the situation outside.
Fortunately, Ying Wenlong did not discover the hidden door switch.
Suddenly, something wet and soft brushed across the palm, as if it had been licked.
Chu Lishu was startled, instinctively pulling his hand back and turning to glare at the audacious entity.
What he saw was Lin Qingyang, panting heavily as if he had just emerged from drowning.
Chu Lishu then realized that he had accidentally suffocated Lin Qingyang by covering his mouth and nose earlier.
Lin Qingyang’s chest heaved violently, and his labored breath sprayed onto Chu Lishu’s neck. The two were pressed together, and Chu Lishu could clearly feel it. Wanting to move away a bit to escape the annoying breath and heat, he found it impossible due to the cramped space.
The dampness in the palm of his hand hadn’t faded yet, making him feel extremely uncomfortable.
He really shouldn’t have saved him.
It wasn’t because of any soft-heartedness, and certainly not because Lin Qingyang, in a life-threatening moment, called out his name. He originally wanted Lin Qingyang dead, and if he could accomplish that through someone else’s hand, even better.
He only saved Lin Qingyang to prevent any murders by Ying Wenlong here, turning this place into a crime scene that could affect his actions. He hadn’t yet investigated why there was a hidden door here.
It was a last resort, for his own sake, that he casually saved Lin Qingyang.
Finally, Lin Qingyang’s breathing became steady, and he began to restlessly shift, as if trying to create some space.
Chu Lishu furrowed his brows slightly, reaching out to grab Lin Qingyang’s wrist, indicating that he should stay still. The space was so small, and any movement would be meaningless, causing discomfort to both of them.
However, while his body remained still, Lin Qingyang’s restless hand began to trace patterns on Chu Lishu’s back. The places he touched felt like they were crawling with ants. Chu Lishu believed it must be his extreme aversion to Lin Qingyang that caused such a strong reaction.
Just as he was contemplating how to deal with Lin Qingyang if he dared to intentionally touch his hand again, he quickly realized that Lin Qingyang was actually writing.
‘What should we do?’
Chu Lishu’s breathing steadied a bit, ‘Wait. There are other hidden doors here. Don’t move randomly.’
Indeed, Lin Qingyang obediently stayed still.
There must be another switch here. Such a hidden mechanism couldn’t be just for this useless small space. It was undoubtedly a transition, concealing a larger area with more secrets.
Previously, he only checked one side, and there was still the opposite wall that he hadn’t examined. Now, with Lin Qingyang’s body in the way, he could only reach backward. The sensation was like holding Lin Qingyang in his arms, making Chu Lishu’s mood even worse.
At this time, Ying Wenlong and Xu Rui’er had stayed outside.
“Rui’er, come over, there’s no one. It turns out there was a mouse running around.”
“Ah, a mouse!”
“Don’t be afraid, I’ll get rid of it right away.”
“Brother Ying, I want to go back. My brother has already found out. If we’re discovered by someone else again, I might…”
“Don’t go, can you bear to see me in such pain from missing you? It’s really unbearable. I had a difficult time falling asleep all night. Even when I closed my eyes, all I could see was your smiling face. I’ll leave early tomorrow morning. Can you really bear to let me go like this?”
It has to be said that Ying Wenlong has a way with words. With his good looks and physique, it didn’t take long for Xu Rui’er to succumb to Ying Wenlong’s sweet talk.
Lin Qingyang couldn’t help but shudder. These two should find a more private place to pour out their feelings.
But a soap opera-like event unfolded, completely unexpected by Lin Qingyang. He thought these two would just have a simple intimate moment, similar to their previous encounter outdoors. However, as he continued to listen, the sounds became increasingly suspicious. When the expression on Chu Lishu’s face turned icy. He focused on finding the hidden door mechanism without glancing at the crevices, Lin Qingyang knew he was right.
Goodness, is this something I can hear without spending money? Is it this explicit?
Lin Qingyang never imagined that the refined Young Lady Xu Rui’er would be so unrestrained, willingly succumbing to Ying Wenlong. Judging by Xu Rui’er’s level of compliance, it seemed like this might not even be their first time.
Could it be that Ying Wenlong and Xu Rui’er had secret liaisons like this every time he came here in the past few months?
Lin Qingyang’s mind buzzed with thoughts. Suddenly, he felt sorry for Xu Wenze and Lin Qinglan.
One was working hard to salvage his sister’s reputation without realizing she was beyond redemption, and the other was completely kept in the dark, thinking her husband was away on official business, only to discover he was cheating.
However, Lin Qingyang now felt he was even more unfortunate than these two. Due to his inability to raise his arm high, he couldn’t even cover his ears to block out the sounds.
As the commotion outside grew louder, despite his best efforts to restrain himself, their sounds inevitably reached Lin Qingyang’s ears.
A typical, blood-pumping, straight male, a straight male!
Lin Qingyang blushed first, then his ears turned red, and finally… Lin Qingyang was too embarrassed to look at Chu Lishu. He decided to close his eyes and play dead.
God, please let Chu Lishu not notice. After all, it was so crowded, who knows what might be pressing against what.
Suddenly, besides hearing those indescribable sounds, Lin Qingyang seemed to hear the grinding of teeth close by.
Terrified, Lin Qingyang cautiously opened his eyes to peek. By now, he had adapted to the lighting in this place. He saw Chu Lishu’s face turning grim, and there was a fierce murderous intent in his eyes.
Lin Qingyang: …
System, can I still survive this?
Male lead, please listen to my explanation; I really didn’t mean to flirt with you.
Oh no, if he speaks up, the people outside will kill him, but if he stays silent, he feels like the male lead is about to turn murderous.
Little Second Brother, why are you so clueless! Stop your excitement.
Little Second Brother says, who asked you to be a novice for two lifetimes; it’s normal to lack composure.
It’s not that he lacks composure; it’s just that the guy outside, Ying Wenlong, is too skilled. The sounds are really getting everywhere.
Lin Qingyang is mentally prepared to hear the system’s life-threatening warning.
But when he glanced again, Chu Lishu had changed.
He lowered his head, seemingly focused on finding the mechanism. The long black feather eyelashes covered his emotions, and the exposed face was no longer pale. Truly, he is the male lead; he adjusted his mood so quickly. As a fellow man, Lin Qingyang could probably understand his current state.
No, he had to pull himself together, stay calm, shift his focus. Gradually, Lin Qingyang’s gaze concentrated on Chu Lishu’s ears.
As he continued to look, he found himself stunned. Chu Lishu’s ears were undoubtedly the most delicate and beautiful he had ever seen—crystal clear and fair, with soft contours exuding a bone-deep beauty. Especially the mole on his ear, coupled with the hint of blush at this moment, seemed to entice someone to take a lick. The reddened earlobe also made it tempting to bite into.
Lin Qingyang cleared his throat, and his Adam’s apple moved up and down. His body tensed even more.
At that moment, Chu Lishu suddenly looked up. His beautiful phoenix eyes carried a fierce gaze, unable to tolerate it any longer, he shot Lin Qingyang a stern look. Lin Qingyang’s heart trembled instantly, and he hastily closed his eyes. How dare he entertain thoughts about the male lead’s ears! His mind must have been affected by the abnormal atmosphere in this place.
Meanwhile, Chu Lishu was staring at Lin Qingyang’s Adam’s apple. If it weren’t for the current situation, he would have directly crushed Lin Qingyang’s throat.
Lin Qingyang was naturally inclined towards men, and having a reaction in this situation could only mean he was thinking about Chu Lishu. The warmth of his breath had even been deliberately directed at Chu Lishu’s ears. Clearly, it was already similar to what happened with Xu Wenze, yet he still had the audacity to covet more. This was truly an insult to him. Lin Qingyang deserved to be cursed a thousand and ten thousand times over. When they got out of here…
Even though Lin Qingyang hoped for a premature ejaculation from the lackluster performance of Ying Wenlong, the intense battle outside continued for an hour.
Despite Lin Qingyang’s gradual adaptation, there was still a lingering sense of exhaustion, as if he were on the brink of death.
He also admired the male lead’s extraordinary composure. His self-control was indeed impressive—no reaction from start to finish. Instead, he exuded an icy aura. Lin Qingyang hoped it wasn’t a killing intent directed at him.
Outside, the atmosphere turned affectionate, with murmurs and sweet nothings.
However, Lin Qingyang gradually sensed something amiss.
“How can we continue like this? How much longer do you want me to wait for you?”
“Isn’t this all for you? Does the Duke’s residence want me to take concubines?”
Xu Rui’er was about to get angry, but Ying Wenlong hurriedly comforted her, saying, “Even if you’re willing to be a concubine, I can’t bear it, right? I just want you to be my legal wife, with a grand ceremony and proper marriage. After all, remarrying you is already a compromise for both of us. Who let us develop feelings for each other?”
“But now my brother has found out, and he will definitely keep an eye on me. It will be hard for us to meet in the future. Aren’t you worried?”
“It will be soon, probably after this year. I’ll formally propose then.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I go with her every time she returns to the residence to see mother-in-law’s condition. The physician says she doesn’t have many months left.”
Lin Qingyang’s expression changed instantly. He knew Ying Wenlong was talking about County Princess Yawen.
“Are you sure there’s no cure?”
“Anyway, the physicians all say there’s no cure. Besides, Marquis An Nan’s residence hasn’t been putting much effort into treating her. Who wouldn’t hope for the early death of this woman with a stain? Looking at how Marquis An Nan’s residence treats Lin Qingyang and Lin Qingxu, you can tell they’re eager for that old lady to die soon, so they can elevate the concubine to the status of the main wife. I’m just waiting for that old woman to die, so I can divorce Lin Qinglan.”
“But she is the daughter of the County Princess, it’s not easy to divorce her, right?”
“After the County Princess dies, their family’s connection to Concubine Liu and the emperor will be severed. They’ll just be descendants of a fallen traitor. Who would intercede for them? With her being barren for three years, it’s only reasonable for me to divorce her. By then, we can be together. Rui’er, are you happy?”
“Yes, I’ll be waiting for you.”
Upon hearing this, Lin Qingyang was trembling all over, grinding his back teeth with a grating sound.
Chu Lishu couldn’t help but curl the corners of his mouth into a cold smile. Indeed, based on his previous investigations into the small matters around Ying Wenlong, he could tell that this guy was a selfish and utterly ugly character. That’s why Chu Lishu had no interest in using him. After all, such a person not only lacked any value for exploitation but also carried a stench of filth.
Outside, the two were still fantasizing about the future using the misfortunes of others. In the end, Xu Rui’er was about to leave, but Ying Wenlong insisted on having another encounter.
“Anyway, I just need to show up again by lunchtime. There’s still time.”
Hearing this, thinking about the busy Lin Qinglan and Xu Wenze, who was searching for them everywhere, the words ‘shameless’ were almost about to burst out.
After the unbearable sounds once again echoed, Lin Qingyang was no longer affected, feeling only a psychological shadow, furious and eager to rush out to confront them.
However, at that moment, there was a very faint movement.
Before they could react, suddenly, the ground beneath them disappeared.
Lin Qingyang instinctively held onto Chu Lishu, who was slightly smaller than himself.
With a muffled thud, the two quickly landed on a pile of straw. The straw had a curve, and Lin Qingyang, still holding Chu Lishu, rolled down until they reached the flat ground and came to a stop.
Lin Qingyang found himself pressed against Chu Lishu’s body, and he couldn’t feel any movement beneath him. He was immediately scared, breaking out in a cold sweat.
“Chu Lishu, Chu Lishu, are you…”
A gentle shushing sound accompanied by the warmth of a living person’s breath brushed against Lin Qingyang’s cheek, instantly calming his uneasy emotions in the darkness. Lin Qingyang dared not move or speak, respecting the imperial edict of the male lead.
After waiting for a while, Chu Lishu spoke slowly, “I can’t hear any movement above. The sound transmission here is not good. You can speak softly.”
“It’s… it’s fine now. Are you injured?”
Because it was pitch black, Lin Qingyang couldn’t see anything. To be honest, the feeling of weightlessness just now was really terrifying, and his heartbeat still hadn’t fully recovered.
“You… are quite heavy. Can you release me first?” Chu Lishu spoke after a moment.
Lin Qingyang then realized that, due to fear and nervousness, he had been tightly hugging Chu Lishu since the moment they fell.
Lin Qingyang, startled, tried to quickly pull away but found it difficult since his hands were pressed under Chu Lishu. Sensing that he couldn’t free his hands, Chu Lishu slowly lifted his head. Lin Qingyang managed to pull one hand from beneath Chu Lishu’s head, and as Chu Lishu lifted his waist, Lin Qingyang freed the other hand.
Sitting on the ground, Lin Qingyang heard Chu Lishu beside him move. He was about to speak when suddenly, a swish sound, and a nearby flame illuminated the surroundings.
He’s quite experienced, even bringing a firestarter.
The light drew closer to Lin Qingyang, allowing him to see Chu Lishu’s face. Chu Lishu, also lowering his head, seemed to be checking on him.
“Chu Lishu?” Lin Qingyang called out, worried that the male lead might leave him alone.
“I’m just checking things. Don’t move,” came the calm voice, providing a sense of security.
Lin Qingyang hesitated, wondering if the male lead was concerned for his safety. No, maybe he was afraid Lin Qingyang would clumsily trigger some mechanism.
Soon, Chu Lishu found a candle holder, lit a flame, and illuminated the surroundings.
Lin Qingyang finally dared to move, and in the surroundings, there was an empty secret room. Besides the candlestick, there was an old bookcase against one wall with various drawers.
Lin Qingyang knew that following the male lead would lead to adventures, it seemed like this place was where letters were hidden.
However, the male lead didn’t trust him and definitely didn’t want him to notice everything.
Lin Qingyang had to disguise his curiosity and asked, “Is there an exit here, or is the only way out from above?”
Chu Lishu didn’t rush to search but came to the base of the hay pile and examined it. The trapdoor they fell through was broken, making it impossible to climb back up unless someone outside reopened the secret door and discovered them.
“It’s probably impossible to go up from here. There should be another exit. I’ll search for it. You… keep an eye on the activity above,” Chu Lishu said.
Lin Qingyang immediately cooperated and returned to the spot where they fell. He could faintly hear some commotion from above, though it was quiet. This indicated that the people above hadn’t left yet.
Although Chu Lishu was searching for an exit, he was more curious about why there was a hidden door secret room here. The annotations on the ancient texts outside contained puzzles that pointed directly to this place. However, Chu Lishu didn’t know what was hidden here.
He opened every drawer, and in the end, Chu Lishu found several sealed letters. They were wrapped with parchment and water-resistant cloth on the outside. Suspicion arose in his heart. Glancing at Lin Qingyang, who was diligently eavesdropping above, Chu Lishu quickly opened the package. As soon as he saw the cover of the first letter, Chu Lishu’s expression changed.
From the Crown Prince, personally delivered. Signed: Qi Ci.
Qi Ci, the trusted general responsible for reinforcements. During the major battle in those years, due to a communication error between them, Qi Ci died on the battlefield with no remains to be found, and the battle lines collapsed one by one.
So, the true battle report Qi Ci wrote to him during that major battle is here?!
Chu Lishu’s expression became extremely unpleasant. Although he knew there must be some issue with it, he didn’t expect that the genuine letters were hidden here. Was it done by the forger to leave evidence? It seems the person on the dragon throne hasn’t discovered these yet.
Chu Lishu’s emotions surged within him. Unexpectedly, due to a twist of fate, he obtained these letters. There must be a lot of valuable information hidden within. Heaven was on his side.
He quickly suppressed his emotions. Lin Qingyang, within his line of sight, still hadn’t turned around—perfect.
Chu Lishu wrapped the items directly, and due to their small size, he easily tucked them into his clothes to conceal them.
【 Ding, Main Mission 1, Mission 3: Help the male lead complete the task of finding the letter, completed. Reward: 10 points, total points: 22, Plot progress: 3%】
Completed! Lin Qingyang felt a wave of excitement, almost turning around. He knew it wasn’t the time to be happy now. His character’s position hadn’t changed; he was still a cannon fodder. In other words, his mortality rate was still quite high. Not to mention outside with Ying Wenlong, even the suspicious male lead behind him might kill him to silence him.
The system really had played him. Why did it give him such a simple mission? It just handed the male lead a reason to eliminate him for no apparent reason.
Right now, he felt a wave of killing intent behind him.
Lin Qingyang’s feelings were spot on; Chu Lishu was indeed staring at him. After finding the envelopes, Chu Lishu heard occasional sounds of flowing water behind the bookshelf. He had already figured out where the exit was.
What happened here, Chu Lishu didn’t want Lin Qingyang to take it outside; it would be detrimental to him. Moreover, he had been telling himself to kill Lin Qingyang.
If he wanted to take Lin Qingyang’s life now, letting him die here without knowing would be quite simple. Chu Lishu had weapons; he could kill him when Lin Qingyang was off guard. No one would suspect him, thinking that Lin Qingyang had simply gone missing. There wouldn’t even be a body to find.
However… this person had been protecting him all along.
Falling from such a height, Chu Lishu hadn’t hit anything. Chu Lishu could tell from Lin Qingyang’s somewhat unnatural movements that he must have bruises all over.
Chu Lishu had long been numb to the pain, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Lin Qingyang, on the other hand, used to be quite afraid of pain.
“Second Cousin, I found the exit. We need to push the cabinet, but it will make a lot of noise. We have to wait until the people above leave before we can go.”
“Oh? Alright, let’s take a break then.” Lin Qingyang loosened his shoulders, feeling pain all over his body. However, he instinctively avoided looking back, afraid of seeing something he shouldn’t.
“Sit down and rest.”
The sound of footsteps on the straw pile came from behind. Chu Lishu was slowly approaching him.
Suddenly, he heard Chu Lishu standing behind him, slowly asking, “Why did you come here?”
Unseen by Lin Qingyang, Chu Lishu was holding a dagger in front of him.
If you love what Ciacia is doing, then consider showing your support by supporting a cup of tea for her at Kofi. If you can’t wait for the next release chapter, subscribe to advanced chapters membership on her Kofi to get access to up to 10 chapters!