I Rely on the Collapse of the Character Setting to Survive in the Hands of the Male Lead Chapter 30

Chapter 30

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“Really none? Could it be my imagination? But I feel like I even licked it, there was a sweet taste.”

“Forget it if there isn’t. I heard you had a fever last night, and it was sweet. I think you were really delirious. Where would the taste of jade come from.”

Lin Qingyang looked disappointed, “I really liked it; it felt so comfortable to touch. I was thinking of finding it to give to…”

“Who, who, who?” Qi Yan immediately asked gossipingly.

“Of course, it’s my younger cousin,” Lin Qingyang said matter-of-factly. If it was genuine warm jade, it would be very nourishing. Since Chu Lishu had changed his body with that medicine, his constitution had become colder. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have had such a severe reaction after soaking in the cold bath. It would be the best for him.

Outside the door, Chu Lishu paused, dropping the thoughts of chopping off Lin Qingyang’s hands that had just been annoying him.

“Heh, indeed, new things are better than old ones. It seems you don’t want this gift anymore.” Qi Yan said as he pulled out a white fabric from the package he brought back, resembling clothing.

Qi Yan held it in front of Lin Qingyang and shook it.

In an instant, a fragrant smell filled the air. Lin Qingyang suddenly felt drawn to it; his nose followed the scent, taking a deep breath. It was as if a pleasant sensation spread through his bones, making him feel invigorated.

“What’s this fragrance? It’s so refreshing and invigorating.” Lin Qingyang couldn’t think of a more suitable description and could only say that.

As a result, Qi Yan burst into laughter and threw it directly onto Lin Qingyang’s face.

Lin Qingyang’s movements stiffened, but he seemed reluctant to take it down.

“Invigorating and refreshing, it seems like you’ve become quite spirited. Indeed, different strokes for different folks. You were praising the virtues of being vegetarian and criticized the pleasures of the flesh, but when someone asked me to give you his personal undergarment, claiming it was a secret gift, you couldn’t resist taking a sniff. Familiar fragrance, isn’t it? You do love this scent, don’t you?” Qi Yan teased.

Lin Qingyang was struck as if by lightning, immediately tearing open his clothes, psychologically resisting. The undergarment belonged to a young attendant from the Secluded Courtyard Pavilion. The realization sent shivers down Lin Qingyang’s spine.

“How about it? Do you want to give it a try? In fact, you can enjoy both Chu Lishu and Yu Zhang. No need to be so rigid,” Qi Yan continued with his banter.

At this moment, there was a commotion at the door, and Chu Lishu walked in with a stern expression.

Following him was Shuncai, looking quite embarrassed.

“Younger cousin?”

Qi Yan also had the appearance of being caught red-handed and signaled to Lin Qingyang.

Chu Lishu’s gaze fell on the undergarment Lin Qingyang held, piercing through him like a thousand needles.

Lin Qingyang hurriedly returned it to Qi Yan, nervously saying, “Qi Yan’s just talking nonsense. Don’t misunderstand.”

“What misunderstanding?” Chu Lishu appeared serious, but his gaze was chilling.

Misunderstanding? He had witnessed Lin Qingyang’s extravagant lifestyle back when he frequented the Secluded Courtyard Pavilion, indulging himself at least once a month. Every time he returned, he bore the appearance of excessive indulgence.

Later, Chu Lishu overheard that Lin Qingyang genuinely liked him, which was why he stopped going to the Secluded Courtyard Pavilion.

Now, instead of seeking that young attendant, the lad even went so far as to send such indecent garments.

Just hearing Lin Qingyang’s voice, Chu Lishu could tell how much he missed that young gentleman.

What’s the matter? Did he force Lin Qingyang into silence?

Suddenly, Chu Lishu recalled the words Lin Qingyang whispered in his ear last night.

Give me? What was he giving?

Chu Lishu, being a man himself, naturally leaned towards certain thoughts. His expression became even more unpleasant.

Seeing this, Shuncai subtly signaled to Lin Qingyang. Lin Qingyang, understanding the situation, could tell that Chu Lishu had probably heard everything. Bringing up the male lead and the little attendant, even suggesting they could both be had, wasn’t this seeking trouble? Nevertheless, Chu Lishu already knew about his secret admiration persona, so it shouldn’t pose much of a problem as long as he maintained this facade.

“You’re my cousin. Yu Zhang is… is someone irrelevant. How can you even mention them together?”

Chu Lishu smirked, “Who is Yu Zhang?”

Lin Qingyang: …

“Nobody!” Lin Qingyang felt guilty and flustered, then turned to Qi Yan seriously, “In the future, don’t bring me these improper things. I’m a decent person, don’t play jokes on me.”

Qi Yan wanted to mock, but seeing Lin Qingyang’s eyes almost popping out, wasn’t he just weak and feeble moments ago? How come he looks like a mouse encountering a cat now, especially when Chu Lishu arrives?

Qi Yan felt a strange sense of being the brother hiding things from his sister-in-law. “Okay, I was just joking,” he said, taking back the undergarment

He gave Lin Qingyang some face.

“Shuncai, fetch me some water. I feel my hands are a bit dirty. Also, incense. Get me some incense; my nose is uncomfortable.” Lin Qingyang directed Shuncai in a busy manner, eliminating the lingering scent of Yu Zhang around him.

Whether it was due to this or not, only now did Chu Lishu approach.

Lin Qingyang quickly shifted closer to Chu Lishu, wearing a smile on his face. It was as if a little dog was actively approaching its owner. If he had a tail, it would surely be wagging right now. It had to be said that Lin Qingyang’s instinctive actions pleased Chu Lishu.

“I heard you were taking care of me all night, and you were the one who brought me up here, right? Thank you for your hard work, cousin.”

“How are you feeling now?”

“Not bad, just a bit weak and lacking energy. In short, much better than yesterday.”

Chu Lishu nodded. “If you still don’t feel well tomorrow, I suggest you go out and find a better physician. I think…”

Seeing Lin Qingyang looking surprised, Chu Lishu became aware that he might be showing too much concern. What if it gave him the wrong idea?

“I also feel that something is off with my body, but it might just be a psychological effect.” After all, he hadn’t experienced any illness in this body yet, so it might take some getting used to. “It won’t be long before I can go back home; we can reassess the situation then.”

“As long as cousin has an idea, that’s good. I’ll take my leave now,” Chu Lishu said, turning to leave.

Lin Qingyang immediately called out, “Ah? Are you leaving already? Won’t you stay a bit longer?”

Chu Lishu hesitated for a moment, noticing the surprised expressions of Shuncai and Qi Yan beside him. He felt a tingling discomfort on his face, full of unease.

In his mind, he cursed, “Couldn’t you guys be less obvious?”

Chu Lishu replied, “Cousin needs rest, and I won’t be of much help here. I won’t disturb you.”

Lin Qingyang became anxious, “Can you come to see me tonight then? We… we still have important matters to discuss, I expect we’ll receive news later in the evening.”

The latter reason seemed rushed, as if it was an afterthought. Was he trying to find an excuse to spend more time together?

If he agreed, would it encourage Lin Qingyang to push further?

Maintaining a composed expression, Chu Lishu was about to find a reason to decline when he heard Lin Qingyang’s voice soften, almost with a tone of pleading, “Moreover since I can’t attend classes for a day, I don’t know what the teachers have said, you coming could help me catch up on the lessons, right?”

Shuncai blushed on the side, and Qi Yan acted as if he had seen nothing.

Chu Lishu couldn’t withstand Lin Qingyang’s coquetry any longer. Afraid that he might say something even more exaggerated, he forced a response, “Cousin is right, I’ll disturb you later tonight.” With that, he walked away without looking back.

Lin Qingyang breathed a sigh of relief. That was close! A visit at noon like this could have jeopardized his mission. If he failed to check in, he would lose valuable points. Considering his current situation—unable to afford medicine while being sick, with no missions in hand—he needed to conserve his remaining points for critical moments.

The male lead, however, wasn’t cooperating. He kept resisting Lin Qingyang’s advances. Fortunately, Lin Qingyang managed to come up with a bunch of excuses. Clearly, there was still quite a distance to cover before he could hug the male lead’s thigh.

When Lin Qingyang regained his composure, he saw Shuncai lowering his head, unable to meet his gaze, and Qi Yan’s mouth twitching.

“Brother, I might as well get you two to switch rooms. It’s like you’re blatantly pretending I don’t exist!”

“No need for that. We have serious matters to attend to. Don’t get any ideas. By the way, you can go out for fun tonight and come back before lights out.”

Qi Yan: Serious matters, my foot! Lin Qingyang, you’re really prioritizing romance over friendship!

Qi Yan walked back to his place, across the Treasure Pavilion, Lin Qingyang could see him tossing the undergarment from Yu Zhang into a nearby basket, probably planning to discard it when cleaning up next time.

Lin Qingyang didn’t know what was happening to him. He always found himself involuntarily caring too much. It felt a bit perverse, so he quickly shook his head and focused on eating, taking medicine, and going to sleep.

At noon, Chu Lishu took advantage of the free time to visit the library. He wanted to destroy the evidence but found someone in the library.

Upon closer inspection, Chu Lishu calmed his mind and approached with a bow.

“Good day, Mr. Cao.”

Mr. Cao, who was reading a book, was slightly surprised to see Chu Lishu. “Ah, it’s you, Young Master Chu. What brings you here?”

“Yesterday, the head master tasked me with organizing the library, but due to some unforeseen events, I couldn’t fulfill the head master’s instructions. So, I took the opportunity at noon to come and continue the task,” Chu Lishu respectfully explained.

Mr. Cao nodded, “Very well, do your work, you don’t need to mind me.”

“I’ve disturbed you.” Chu Lishu bowed and began to earnestly organize the books.

Seeing that everything was in order, Mr. Cao, recalling the recent actions Chu Lishu took, contemplated for a moment but ultimately didn’t speak up. He set aside the book he was reading and picked up another one.

After finishing the task, Chu Lishu deliberately picked up the books containing clues, looking at them with a puzzled expression.

Mr. Cao’s expression subtly changed, “Young Master Chu, what are you looking at?”

“Ah, nothing much, I just found these books quite interesting,” Chu Lishu replied casually. It seemed that Mr. Cao had already discovered the secrets within the books, but Chu Lishu was unsure if he knew about the hidden door.

After a moment of hesitation, Mr. Cao suddenly asked, “I’ve read your previous writings on flood management. From an academic perspective, they are well-written. Unfortunately, you cited the words of someone who shouldn’t be mentioned. The books containing that person’s words seem to have been destroyed long ago and are forbidden for sale. I wonder, Young Master Chu, where did you learn about it?”

“When I was a student, I indeed didn’t remember those sayings. It was only after arriving in the capital that, while browsing books at a Tongfang bookstore in East Market, I accidentally came across an unsealed book containing those words. I never expected to face such an unwarranted disaster. However, I know the method is correct; I just dare not mention it again in the future.”

Mr. Cao nodded and continued, “I wonder, Young Master Chu, what is your opinion on the person whose method you mentioned.”

Chu Lishu paused, “Since he is someone not to be mentioned, I naturally dare not have any opinion. However… it seems that the person not to be mentioned once received education from Mr. Cao. What is your opinion of him?”

Mr. Cao said, “He is an outstanding student. If he were an ordinary person, he would undoubtedly be a top scholar with profound knowledge and exceptional talent. Given his character, becoming an academic expert is only a matter of time.”

Chu Lishu smiled and said, “I share the same view.”

With that, the topic ceased, and both men didn’t elaborate further. Chu Lishu respectfully bowed and took his leave.

Having missed the previous opportunity, Mr. Cao wouldn’t impulsively let down his guard under those emotions.

Naturally, Chu Lishu wouldn’t easily trust Mr. Cao at this point.

Both were testing each other, trying to figure out if the other was an ally or an enemy. However, Chu Lishu had already made a new move on the chessboard. It now depended on Mr. Cao’s next move.

For today, Chu Lishu had to stop here. He temporarily gave up on dealing with the clues to the secret passage. If Mr. Cao wasn’t an ally, revealing his investigation might only expose him.

On his way back to the Sun and Moon Pavilion, Chu Lishu encountered Lin Qingxu.

It seemed like Lin Qingxu was intentionally waiting for him.

They used to get along well, and Lin Qingxu had always been good at hiding his true self. However, the internal conflicts within Marquis An Nan’s residence didn’t conflict with Chu Lishu’s interests, so they maintained a superficially harmonious relationship.

But now…

“Cousin, greetings,” Lin Qingxu greeted with a smile that seemed insincere. “Did you just come out from Second Brother’s place?”

“Greetings Third Cousin. I just went to the library. Is there something you need?”

“I’ve noticed that lately you’ve been getting close to Second Brother. Have your relations improved so much? I heard you’ve been accompanying Second Brother through this whole ordeal with Eldest Sister,” Lin Qingxu remarked.

“Second Cousin and Eldest Cousin are family. If there’s any trouble, Lishu will do his best to help. You weren’t around at that time, Third Cousin, otherwise, you would have surely assisted as well.”

“True, true. I just used to think that Second Brother was bullying you, which made me worry a lot. I even offended Second Brother for your sake. Now it seems I was overly concerned.”

Chu Lishu smiled. He remembered that day well. Lin Qingyang did indeed tie him up, but Lin Qingxu must have known about Lin Qingyang’s plan from the beginning and intended to leave it be. He just didn’t expect Lin Qingyang to change his mind halfway, resulting in Lin Qingxu taking the hit.

“Conflicts among brothers are normal. You two are closer than I am, any issues will surely pass quickly.”

Lin Qingxu found it hard to force a smile. He used to think Chu Lishu was a bookish nerd, weak and easy to bully, especially since he had always been overshadowed by that foolish Lin Qingyang. However, now he realized that this guy might not be as easy to deal with as he appeared.

He couldn’t understand. If Lin Qingyang really had coveted Chu Lishu, why didn’t Chu Lishu feel indignant? Did he want to counterattack Lin Qingyang? Why did it seem like he was starting to get along well with him?

Could it be that Chu Lishu had fallen for Lin Qingyang’s charm?

If that were the case, it would be great. Catching them once, and Lin Qingyang would be finished.

“By the way, is Eldest Sister really planning to divorce brother-in-law? Do you guys know anything?”

“In this matter, I dare not speak out of turn. The Marquis’s residence will send someone to address it when the time comes,” Chu Lishu feigned a submissive attitude, making it seem like he was cautious not to meddle.

However, Lin Qingxu didn’t believe him. He was quite self-aware when helping Lin Qingyang before, but now he seemed to know his boundaries. It was okay if he couldn’t get any information. In any case, if Eldest Sister divorced, it would be more advantageous for them.

“Well, let’s wait for the news from the Marquis’s residence. Also, I noticed Second Brother’s complexion wasn’t good yesterday, and today he took a leave. Is the cold weather affecting him that severely? Or is there something else bothering him?”

Chu Lishu replied, “Did Third Brother not visit Second Brother?”

“Oh, when I went, he was resting. I didn’t want to disturb him,” Lin Qingxu said awkwardly, though he had actually been blocked by Shuncai when he attempted to go.

Chu Lishu shook his head, saying, “The physician mentioned it might be a wind-cold, perhaps due to severe exposure to the cold. Nothing more.”

Chu Lishu couldn’t casually disclose Lin Qingyang’s peculiar symptoms, and he found Lin Qingxu’s concern a bit unnecessary. Since he hadn’t personally visited Lin Qingyang and wasn’t genuinely concerned, there was no need to inquire specifically.

Perhaps Lin Qingxu was just trying to find something to talk about, probing into the current relationship between him and Lin Qingyang.

Chu Lishu didn’t reveal anything, and Lin Qingxu naturally found it uninteresting. After asking a few questions, he left.

It wasn’t until the evening that someone from Marquis An Nan’s residence arrived, saying they wanted to see the Second Young Master. The messenger was a capable servant under Nanny Ding.

When Shuncai brought the visitor over, Chu Lishu was accompanying Lin Qingyang for dinner. Lin Qingyang was still feeding Chu Lishu pieces of meat, while he himself had little appetite.

“Greetings, Second Young Master, Young Master Chu.”

Lin Qingyang nodded and said to Qi Yan, “You can leave now!”

Qi Yan: …now I have no home to return to.

However, Qi Yan had also heard some information about their family affairs and naturally understood that it was inappropriate for him to stay here. So, he got up and went out for a walk.

After closing the door, the servant emotionally recounted everything that happened that day.

In the morning, even before Marquis An Nan discovered Lin Qinglan’s return, the old madam from Ying’s family had already paid a visit.

So, Marquis An Nan hadn’t fully understood what good news it was when the old madam said, “What a well-raised daughter the Marquis has! Not only did she hit her own little sister-in-law, but she also made bold statements about divorcing my son. She fled overnight. Does this sound like something a well-bred young lady would do? I came here today to ask when she talks about divorcing, is it the Marquis’s intention?!”

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