I Rely on the Collapse of the Character Setting to Survive in the Hands of the Male Lead Chapter 23

Chapter 23

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Chu Lishu spent a sleepless night, feeling a murky unrest that couldn’t be explained. It wasn’t until morning when he heard movement and saw Xu Wenze getting up and leaving his room. According to the original plan, Xu Wenze was supposed to stay inside and study, but now he had gone out. Chu Lishu couldn’t help but associate it with last night. Naturally, he didn’t want to be affected by such matters. He decided to go to the library, but then he noticed that Lin Qingyang’s room was also empty.

Were these two meeting secretly somewhere?

Chu Lishu suddenly found everything quite amusing. He couldn’t understand why he, who was originally filled with thoughts of revenge, was wasting energy on such things. However, not long after, Lin Qingyang appeared again, calling out his name.

So, he came to find him?

The next moment, Lin Qingyang provided an answer. “Yes, I came to find you. This morning, I went to see my eldest sister, and she asked me what you like to eat. Every time I guess what you like, I get it wrong, right? So, I decided to ask you directly.”

Lin Qingyang gave himself a very reasonable reason, all based on events that had actually occurred and could serve as evidence.

But Chu Lishu wasn’t entirely convinced. “Oh, really? This morning, weren’t you supposed to meet Xu Wenze?”

If he dared to lie to him again…

“How did you know? Did you see it?” Lin Qingyang was genuinely surprised.

However, what awaited him was not Chu Lishu’s answer but a suffocating silence.

Wait a minute, why did the male lead ask about Xu Wenze? Did he see that he was plotting with Xu Wenze, so he didn’t believe Lin Qingyang’s previous answer?

Oh no, the male lead hates being lied to the most.

“It’s true… After meeting my eldest sister, I ran into Xu Wenze on the way. We have a secret,” Lin Qingyang quickly adjusted his thoughts and cautiously explained.

“Oh? What secret?” Chu Lishu’s laughter carried no discernible emotion. Lin Qingyang still didn’t dare to turn around; he felt a suppressive force that seemed to dictate his survival by not looking back.

Lin Qingyang gestured upward. “It’s all because of them. Yesterday, during the refined arts classes, we discovered that they were having a secret rendezvous…” Lin Qingyang proceeded to recount everything that happened yesterday to Chu Lishu.

Suddenly, Chu Lishu appeared in front of Lin Qingyang, looking somewhat astonished. However, this made Lin Qingyang breathe a sigh of relief. The oppressive atmosphere that had weighed on him seemed to have disappeared. It seemed that the male lead now believed he wasn’t lying.

“Yesterday afternoon, you and Xu Wenze were spying in the back mountains… So, yesterday evening, when you two hesitated to speak, and you both went to your room, it was for…”

“It’s because Xu Wenze suspected something about Ying Wenlong, so he pulled me aside for discussion. At that time, I also suspected that scoundrel was the man from the back mountains.” Lin Qingyang, getting worked up, continued, “This scum dared to treat my sister like that and even wanted to kill me to keep it quiet. If you hadn’t saved me in time just now, it would have been…”

Lin Qingyang rambled on, expecting Chu Lishu to express some understanding. However, the male lead just stared at him blankly.

What’s wrong with the male lead?

“Cousin?” Lin Qingyang extended his hand in front of Chu Lishu, who then snapped back to reality. He sat down, looking a bit evasive and tired.

Feeling tired himself, Lin Qingyang also took a seat. “Cheating is one thing, and having multiple wives and concubines is another. I never expected him to plan to divorce and remarry, especially waiting for my mother… it’s truly disgusting. Xu Rui’er is not a good person either, even if she’s Xu Wenze’s sister…”

“What if she’s Xu Wenze’s sister? How does Xu Wenze become so important that he can influence your judgment?” Chu Lishu interrupted.

Lin Qingyang was taken aback by the sudden questioning. He turned to look at Chu Lishu and found Chu Lishu’s beautiful phoenix eyes shining brightly in the dim environment, staring at him persistently, making it difficult for Lin Qingyang to look away.

“Well… not really, but we are friends after all,” Lin Qingyang answered hesitantly.

“Just friends?” Chu Lishu’s voice became deep and different from his usual tone, as if he were Crown Prince Yuan Ran speaking from a high position, not the disguised Chu Lishu.

This kind of demeanor from Chu Lishu made Lin Qingyang extremely nervous. To put it bluntly, it felt like a wolf in sheep’s clothing had lifted the disguise in front of him, revealing its true nature. Lin Qingyang didn’t know how to answer without provoking him.

Seeing Lin Qingyang silent, Chu Lishu sneered coldly, “What’s wrong? Isn’t he the person you like?”

Lin Qingyang was shocked. When did the male lead find out?

Chu Lishu tilted his head slightly, his expression enigmatic, “What’s the matter? No answer? Are you thinking of reasons to deny it?”

Lin Qingyang was horrified. His brain was working at high speed. Regardless of how the male lead found out, the fact that the original body once liked Xu Wenze was indisputable. He couldn’t lie and deny it. Previously, to save his life, he had fabricated a crush to the male lead, which conflicted with the previous liking for Xu Wenze. This couldn’t collapse; otherwise, he would be in mortal danger.

Lin Qingyang nervously swallowed saliva. Under Chu Lishu’s seemingly indifferent but actually penetrating gaze, he finally composed himself and, with a feigned expression of sadness, slowly spoke.

“You already know, huh? I did… once have a crush on Xu Wenze. But it was just a fleeting, immature affection. It came and went quickly. I don’t like him anymore; I just see him as a fellow student and friend now.”

“Oh? How did you so easily stop liking him?”

Male lead, why are you pressing me like this? Were we not going for the secretly admiring character arc? As a straight guy, you probably won’t like to hear me confessing my feelings, right? Is there any benefit for you in making me say it out loud? Will you spare me if I confess to you face to face? It’s probably even worse, isn’t it? Oh no, I’m in trouble.

Before Lin Qingyang could figure out how to phrase it, he heard the low and ancient well-like voice next to him suddenly ripple, as if a stone had dropped into an ancient well, creating concentric waves.

“Is it because you’ve fallen for someone else? Did you forget the old flame because you like someone new?”

Why does he make it sound like I’m a fickle guy who easily moves on from one person to another?

Lin Qingyang really can’t grasp the male lead’s thoughts. Well, it’s hard to understand the ideas of someone half crazy. The problem is how should he respond? Should he continue maintaining the character setting? But last time he said it with his back turned to the male lead, and now, facing those eyes, he’s finding it really hard to say. The pressure is overwhelming.

“Answer me! If it’s not Xu Wenze you like, then who?”

Lin Qingyang was startled by the sudden intensification in tone and met Chu Lishu’s gaze. The ice-cold and threatening look created an immense pressure, causing Lin Qingyang’s mind to short-circuit. He blurted out reflexively, “You…”

As soon as he spoke, Chu Lishu’s expression changed.

Lin Qingyang’s heart rate skyrocketed. This is not good.

“Why… why are you asking this? Can’t I just not like him anymore? It’s not like there’s a rule that says I must like someone! You! What do you know at your young age?” Lin Qingyang took a deep breath, turning the situation around, but his back was already damp with sweat from the fright.

But after saying that, he regretted it. Oh no, by saying this, didn’t he just dismantle his secret crush persona? Can he still survive?

Lin Qingyang, with a heart as lifeless as ashes, reluctantly lifted his eyes to look at Chu Lishu.

To his surprise, Chu Lishu’s expression went blank for a few seconds but quickly returned to normal. He turned his head, avoiding Lin Qingyang’s gaze.

“I was just curious. If Cousin doesn’t want to answer, forget it.”

What’s going on? Did he just pass the test?

Wait a minute, what’s with the male lead’s uncomfortable state?

Lin Qingyang’s head is now filled with question marks.

Chu Lishu, on the other hand, felt uncomfortable and discreetly placed his hand on his chest. In the moment Lin Qingyang said ‘you,’ he experienced the long-lost lively sensation of a racing heartbeat.

Seeing Lin Qingyang’s flustered state, Chu Lishu already understood. Lin Qingyang had genuinely developed feelings for him but knew there was no chance, so he didn’t dare to admit it. The previous misunderstandings were all on his part. Lin Qingyang had been carefully navigating their interactions, being straightforward with Xu Wenze. It was him who had misinterpreted everything.

After realizing this, Chu Lishu felt like the oppressive feeling that had lingered in his chest for so long had lifted. His emotions returned to normal.

Although he didn’t have feelings for men and couldn’t be with Lin Qingyang, he despised the feeling of being deceived and played. As long as Lin Qingyang hadn’t lied to him, he could spare his life.

“By the way, when you fell down earlier, did you get hurt?”

Lin Qingyang: ????? This sudden change of topic.

“I bumped into some places, but it’s nothing serious.”

“I didn’t expect there to be a secret room here. But I think it’s best for us to keep it a secret. In case it’s some confidential place, it wouldn’t be good if we found out,” Chu Lishu said.

“Of course, of course.”

Why did the male lead say that? Does that mean he won’t kill me to keep it quiet? What’s going on? Why did he suddenly become so easygoing?

Lin Qingyang still doesn’t dare to relax.

Chu Lishu, on the other hand, smoothly covered up, saying, “I accidentally discovered the secret door. After coming in, they both arrived, and I couldn’t leave for a while. I had to stay until you showed up.”

Lin Qingyang admires the male lead’s ability to light up the task, even without NPC guidance; he can find key information.

“I think I saw a mouse earlier,” Lin Qingyang suddenly remembered.

“After discovering the secret door, I found a mouse to explore the path for me.”

The male lead’s caution indeed saved his life. It seems that Ying Wenlong mistook the sound of him sneezing for the sound of a mouse, leading him to believe there was no one here.

During their conversation, a few more sounds came from above, indicating that the two people above were deeply engrossed in their activities.

Lin Qingyang’s face turned grim, “These two…”

Upon hearing the sounds, memories of the awkward situation just now rushed into Lin Qingyang’s mind. Unable to resist, he sneakily glanced at Chu Lishu. Seeing that Chu Lishu’s expression remained unchanged, it seemed they had an unspoken agreement to pretend that the previous incident never happened.

The two of them endured the noise from above for a while, and this time, it ended quite quickly. Before long, there was silence from above.

To be cautious, they waited for a while longer to make sure there was no one around before getting up and approaching the old bookshelf.

It was only then that Lin Qingyang remembered the original plot. He finally understood why the system had asked him for help.

Lin Qingyang looked at the cold abyss outside the hole in the wall, his face revealing a bitter expression. It seemed like he was about to take a dip in the icy waters. Wasn’t it because of winter swimming that the original body developed health problems?

In the original plot, Chu Lishu went to search for the secret room with Mr. Cao. When they found the secret room, only Chu Lishu would come down, while Mr. Cao waited outside to assist. So, even if Chu Lishu found another exit, he wouldn’t risk going through the frigid pool. Instead, he would let Mr. Cao help him up through the secret door.

But this time, there was no Mr. Cao. With Chu Lishu bravely exploring the secret room alone, it seemed he would have to take the route through the icy pool.

So, the system had sent a cannon fodder whose mission was to explore for the male lead, just like the recently discarded mouse. Chu Lishu probably hadn’t anticipated that there would be only the frigid pool outside; after observing for a while, his expression turned serious.

“There are dried leaves in the water, and it’s flowing. There should be another exit. I just don’t know how deep the pool is and how far the exit is,” Chu Lishu said.

His hand, now numb from the cold water, was ready to undress. However, he remembered the envelopes hidden in his clothes. As he was about to undress while avoiding Lin Qingyang, he was suddenly stopped as Lin Qingyang grabbed his arm.

“I’ll do it.”

Chu Lishu looked at Lin Qingyang, who seemed ready to sacrifice himself.

“The water is very cold, and you may risk hypothermia,” Lin Qingyang retorted with a bad mood. “I’m your elder cousin. Of course, I should do this. Why should you take the lead? Besides, your health isn’t good. What if you catch a cold? I have more flesh, greater buoyancy, and enough heat. Let me handle this.”

Chu Lishu frowned as he watched Lin Qingyang. Seeing him actually undress until only his underwear remained, Chu Lishu averted his gaze and whispered, “The situation underwater is unclear. It might be dangerous.”

How can I not know this? But I have system prompts. If it doesn’t work out, I can still retreat. Can you?

“Let’s give it a try,” Lin Qingyang said before starting to warm up. He needed to mobilize all his strength; otherwise, winter swimming would indeed be suicidal. Fortunately, his body was much stronger now than before. Also, as an all-around athlete in the mortal world, he was well-prepared for this.

Once ready, Lin Qingyang took a deep breath and slowly descended into the frigid pool. The almost icy water stung his skin, making it a real test of endurance.

Just as the water was about to reach his shoulders, someone suddenly grabbed his arm.

Lin Qingyang looked up at Chu Lishu in confusion, and Chu Lishu seemed momentarily stunned, as if his actions had preceded his conscious thought.

“Be careful, don’t overdo it,” Chu Lishu cautioned.

Lin Qingyang flashed a smile, saying, “Don’t worry! I value my life.”

With that, Lin Qingyang quickly submerged himself, and soon, his figure disappeared beneath the cold pool’s surface.

Chu Lishu hesitated as he looked at his own hand. It wasn’t that he was worried about Lin Qingyang finding an exit and slipping away; he had grabbed him out of concern…concern that Lin Qingyang might accidentally lose his life down there.

Even though he had a better grasp of the situation than Lin Qingyang.

But why would he risk himself for Lin Qingyang?

Chu Lishu closed his eyes and began counting in his mind.

If he didn’t find the exit, considering the time to return, this moment would be the limit.

Chu Lishu couldn’t hear any sound, and when he opened his eyes, there was still no sign of anyone coming out.

He continued counting until his voice began to uncontrollably overflow, carrying an imperceptible tremor. With a cold expression, Chu Lishu couldn’t endure it any longer and finally jumped into the cold pool.

Even if he found the exit, took a short break, and returned, it would still exceed the time limit.

He was in trouble.

Did Lin Qingyang die?

How could he die in such a place?

It would be better to be killed by him!

Chu Lishu plunged into the water with a strong dive, but he was suddenly bumped by something, and then he was embraced and floated to the surface.

Lin Qingyang had been panting continuously, while Chu Lishu only had slight breaths, but he had been staring straight at Lin Qingyang with an extremely eerie expression.

Until the breathing normalized, Lin Qingyang hurriedly said, “It’s too cold; we can’t stay for too long. Otherwise, I’ll freeze to death. Hurry up and get in the water. Follow me; the exit is a bit far. Hold your breath. Take off your clothes and roll them into a bundle, tie them on your back. As long as it’s compressed, it won’t be too heavy.”

Lin Qingyang had originally planned to swim naked, but knowing that Chu Lishu would definitely want to keep the envelope, he could only do it this way.

“Okay,” Chu Lishu cooperated, completely avoiding any mention of what had just happened.

Soon, the two of them were ready. Lin Qingyang took the lead, and Chu Lishu followed closely, submerging into the water. It was only at this moment that they truly felt the cold. In the dim underwater environment, there was only a faint light in the distance, no sound at all, and their bodies continued to lose warmth. Lin Qingyang really made the round trip like this, showing even more courage than he had imagined.

Just as he was thinking about this, a sudden intense pain surged through his body – that was…

Chu Lishu gritted his teeth, knowing that he had to hold on until they reached the exit.

The two of them successfully swam to the exit. Lin Qingyang climbed up first, took a deep breath, and turned around to pull Chu Lishu up.

But there was no sight of him. Lin Qingyang was confused; he clearly heard the sound of someone surfacing.

Just then, the system mercifully sounded an alarm.

Lin Qingyang cursed loudly and jumped back, indeed witnessing Chu Lishu slowly losing consciousness and sinking in the water.

He had clearly overestimated the male lead’s physical endurance.

Lin Qingyang quickly grabbed hold of Chu Lishu, seeing that he had already swallowed water and passed out. Anxiety gripped his heart.

He hurriedly pulled him up.

After finally climbing out of the exit, Chu Lishu remained unconscious.

“System, help! Save him!”

System:【 Analysis, the sudden reaction of Tianxuan Pill under cold conditions, could not be resolved, not lethal; Analysis 2, drowning, could be resolved, please host act quickly, the male lead’s vitality was fading.】


Could be resolved? Artificial respiration?

System, darn it!

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