I Rely on the Collapse of the Character Setting to Survive in the Hands of the Male Lead Chapter 32

Chapter 32

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“System, something feels off, very off. Are you sure there’s only me inside my body?”

System: [Please refrain from posing meaningless questions, Host.]

“But I just lost consciousness completely. Could it be sleepwalking? Even if it is, I shouldn’t be holding someone else’s provocative clothing and sniffing it like a pervert. Unless there’s another person inside my body. The original body… is he still lingering?”

System: [There is only the host’s soul inside the host’s body. The soul of the original body has disappeared. If the host feels discomfort using this body, it must be an issue from the original body. However, I can assure the host that this body has no underlying significant illnesses.]

“Then what’s happening to me?”

System: [The system only provides detection services related to missions. For non-mission-related issues, the host should explore on their own.]

“You guys have the worst after-sales service!” Lin Qingyang exclaimed in frustration. With no answers from the system, he had to figure things out on his own.

The original issue was with this body itself. The memories he received were chaotic, some detailed, some completely missing—a far cry from the memories of a normal person. This indicated that the original body’s mind was damaged.

Moreover, various physical symptoms emerged just from a brief exposure to cold. Even Chu Lishu with his weak body was still fine, didn’t he only catch a slight cold? There must be something else disturbing his body.

Now, his excessive fascination with the scent raised a troubling speculation in Lin Qingyang’s mind. However, based on memories and common sense, it seemed highly unreasonable.

Lin Qingyang couldn’t figure it out and spent a sleepless night contemplating the jade-embellished undergarment.

Originally planning to rest for one more night before attending classes, Lin Qingyang’s complexion worsened the next day.

“You… didn’t overdo it last night, did you? It’s been a while since you relieved yourself?” Qi Yan made a suggestive gesture. “If you’re really feeling pent-up, don’t hold back. If you want to go, we can secretly go without letting your little sweetheart know.”

Ignoring Qi Yan’s suggestive remarks, Lin Qingyang directly asked, “We are the best of brothers, right?”

Qi Yan was somewhat surprised by the sentimental words from Lin Qingyang. He nodded, “Yeah, I guess so. We indeed get along the best, spent the most time together. What’s up?”

“Has there been anything wrong with my body, apart from this time?”

Qi Yan was amused, “Ever since you came back half a month ago, you’ve been acting strange. You’re on a diet, exercising, and avoiding men completely. I think you’re just burning yourself out and bottling up too much, leading to these wild thoughts.”

According to Qi Yan, apart from this particular incident, the original body’s behavior had been normal before. Besides spending money to sleep with men, there shouldn’t be any harmful habits affecting the body.

Seeing Lin Qingyang lost in thought again, Qi Yan said, “Forget it, given your condition, I’ll arrange for you to take a break. I still have a few ginseng roots; I’ll prepare a remedy for you. Your complexion… it’s really like that of a dead person.”

Lin Qingyang indeed had no energy left and wasn’t interested in doing anything else. At this moment, the most crucial thing was figuring out what was wrong with his body.

When Shuncai came over, he helped arrange for a physician.

The physician was also taken aback when he saw Lin Qingyang. How did the situation worsen, and it seemed more than just a lack of sleep? The physician couldn’t identify a reason.

Lin Qingyang deliberately placed the revealing clothes nearby so that the physician could catch a whiff of that fragrance. However, the physician, aside from expressing disdain with his eyes for such inappropriate behavior, showed no reaction. If Lin Qingyang’s speculation was correct, the physician should have noticed something, right? Could it be that this physician was not professional?

Lin Qingyang didn’t dare to openly state his suspicions, fearing unnecessary trouble. Since the physician couldn’t see anything, he let it go.

Once the doctor left, Lin Qingyang couldn’t resist bringing the clothes close to his nose again. Indeed, a strong fragrance enveloped him, but Lin Qingyang himself didn’t like such intense scents. However, smelling this fragrance was like… inhaling a strong whiff of camphor, refreshing his mind, making him alert, and alleviating the nausea.

“Young Master…” Shuncai brought in the ginseng soup, and seeing him like this, he, too, thought along the same lines as Qi Yan. His Young Master used to be quite libertine, and recently, he hadn’t gone out at all. Could it be that he was really pent up? “Young Master, if you really miss Yu Zhang so much, why not go see him? For a man, having multiple wives is quite normal. If you’re worried about upsetting Young Master Chu, just keep it a secret.”

Shuncai sympathized with his Young Master. They hadn’t even been together yet, and he was already behaving so chastely? Not only that, he wasn’t even given anything to eat, leaving the Young Master hungry. How pitiful.

Lin Qingyang felt a headache from being misunderstood. “It’s not like that at all, Shuncai! I’m asking you, did my previous body ever experience something like this?”

Shuncai shook his head, indicating it hadn’t.

“So, is there any particular fragrance that I’m extremely obsessed with? Something I can’t stand going a day without smelling?” Shuncai shook his head.

Qi Yan and Shuncai practically spent the entirety of the original body’s time together. Given their relationship, they wouldn’t hide anything. If there had been anything, they would surely know.

“Now, take a whiff of this…” Shuncai widened his eyes, indicating he was reluctant.

“I just want you to smell this incense and see if you can recognize it.”

Shuncai hesitated before leaning in to sniff. Suddenly, he staggered, saying, “It’s too fragrant, making me dizzy. Young Master, don’t you feel that way?”

Lin Qingyang found himself more invigorated with each sniff.

“Perhaps, Young Master has gotten used to it. Every time I go to Secluded Courtyard Pavilion to fetch you, you always have this fragrance on you. It should be from gentleman Yu Zhang. His room is filled with this scent, probably something he deliberately concocted.”

Lin Qingyang fell into contemplation.

At noon, Chu Lishu came along with Qi Yan.

However, when the two saw Lin Qingyang, his complexion had improved significantly.

Lin Qingyang smiled and said, “It’s all thanks to the ginseng soup.” In reality, he had involuntarily sniffed the obscene garment for a while, experiencing psychological disgust while his body seemed to enjoy it.

His condition had improved a lot now.

Chu Lishu, showing a hint of concern, brought up the rumors circulating outside, all the information being brought in by attendants of various aristocratic families.

The news about Lin Qinglan divorcing from Ying Wenlong had already spread, with various versions circulating. Generally, the rumors were unfavorable to Lin Qinglan, but in ancient times, divorce for women was considered unfavorable in most cases.

Although Lin Qinglan’s body was examined and found to be damaged, they couldn’t determine whether it was due to medication or the lingering effects of the first miscarriage. In this era, detailed medical examinations were not available, making it impossible to clarify the situation. The Ying family father and son were skilled at maintaining a positive image, and they enjoyed a good reputation externally. As a result, they had to endure the injustice in public opinion.

Despite understanding the process, hearing the rumors from outside was still infuriating.

Qi Yan mentioned that during the literature class, there were people gossiping, which even made Lin Qingwei cry. However, Lin Qingyang knew that Lin Qingwei’s tears were not shed out of indignation for her elder sister but simply because she felt embarrassed.

Chu Lishu noticed the change in Lin Qingyang’s expression and spoke up after some thought, “In fact, this is a positive trend. It will force certain people to speed up their decisions; otherwise, the information will spread more and more, eventually attracting trouble.”

Chu Lishu was referring to Duke Wei Guo’s residence. They were not sure who was behind these rumors. In case it was Lin Qingyang’s way of pressuring them to make a decision quickly, they didn’t dare to be negligent. They estimated that news would come within ten days.

Lin Qingyang nodded, indicating that he understood.

This time, Chu Lishu consciously stayed here after having dinner with Lin Qingyang before going back to rest.

After a nap in the afternoon, Lin Qingyang’s body was still not doing well.

He could clearly feel his dependence and obsession with that fragrance, the uncontrollable desire that manipulated his willpower and mental cravings. It was evident that all of this pointed towards Lin Qingyang’s speculation.

Lin Qingyang furrowed his brows slightly, thinking about the jade-patterned provocative clothing.

Unable to resist any longer, he finally recalled the memories. Lin Qingyang thought he might remember some scandalous scenes, but surprisingly, there were only hugging, kissing, and caressing the face. Were the memories of those parts also gone?

However, he did remember the appearance of Yu Zhang. In an instant, he somewhat understood why the original owner became infatuated with Yu Zhang.

The features of Yu Zhang were too similar to Xu Wenze, he was only more delicate, exquisite, and charming. It was like a petite and charming version of Xu Wenze.

Perhaps, unable to have Xu Wenze, Lin Qingyang treated Yu Zhang as a substitute for affection. It was indeed a peculiar infatuation.

According to Shuncai, Lin Qingyang visited Yu Zhang at a steady frequency, at least once or twice a month, with the longest interval definitely not exceeding thirty days.

However, thirty days seemed too long. In terms of timing and frequency, Lin Qingyang’s speculations were impossible, as no kind of encounter would have such a prolonged gap.

Could it be that the speculations were wrong?

Suddenly, a voice interrupted Lin Qingyang’s thoughts. When he looked up, he saw Xu Wenze walking in.

At that moment, Lin Qingyang was in the peculiar act of smelling the provocative clothing. He swiftly tucked the item under the blanket, and his face couldn’t hide the embarrassment.

Meanwhile, Xu Wenze at the door had widened his eyes, blushing. The air seemed to carry the awkwardness between them.

He was neither coming in nor going out, and in the end, he could only force himself to say, “Sorry, Shuncai said you were inside. I called several times, but you didn’t respond. I thought something happened to you, so I came in.”

“It’s… it’s nothing,” Lin Qingyang felt extremely guilty; this was just too awkward. “I’m not feeling well, inconvenient to get up. Please forgive my rudeness.”

“No, it’s my rudeness,” Xu Wenze tried to maintain a gentleman’s demeanor, avoiding looking at the provocative clothing revealed by Lin Qingyang. “You’ve returned,” he suddenly spoke loudly, shifting his position to completely block the view.

“Well, it’s not exactly…” Xu Wenze, feeling flustered, finally regained his composure after a while. “I came to deliver a message. Now that it’s done, I’ll be going back in the evening. My father has agreed to the proposal, it will be arranged in the next few days. You can rest assured.”

Lin Qingyang’s heart stirred. Indeed, as Chu Lishu mentioned at noon, the rumors outside had made Duke Wei Guo anxious. They originally thought he would hesitate for a few more days, hence the ten-day timeframe. However, as soon as there were rumors, he immediately sent Xu Wenze back to convey the message, fearing they might play some tricks and implicate Duke Wei Guo’s residence.

Looking at Xu Wenze’s complexion, Lin Qingyang could tell how tough this day and night had been. The entire Duke’s residence must be in a frantic state.

“Naturally, we will keep our promise, but are you really going to marry Young Lady Xu to Ying Wenlong? You have witnessed how ruthless he is.”

When this was mentioned, Xu Wenze’s complexion worsened. “She lacks restraint, causing such great trouble for the family. Since she wants to marry, Father said he would grant her wish.”

Lin Qingyang admired Chu Lishu once again in his heart. Back then, Chu Lishu had predicted that Xu Rui’er would definitely marry Ying Wenlong and be treated as a discarded daughter, receiving no family protection, no status to climb upon, and no respect from her husband. The future consequences were evident.

This was the inevitable outcome for someone who, despite being a illegitimate daughter, couldn’t discern her own position. Duke Wei Guo’s residence was with few heirs, when they treated her a bit better, she considered herself indispensable, causing trouble without restraint. However, reality was harsh. From now on, there would be no place for her in Duke Wei Guo’s residence. Her pride would only remain in the fleeting glory of her marriage.

As Xu Wenze spoke, a sense of guilt appeared on his face. “I’m sorry, Brother Lin. This matter is really a great injustice to your sister…”

“This matter has nothing to do with you. There’s no need to stand up for my sister,” Lin Qingyang hadn’t considered shifting blame onto Xu Wenze.

Xu Wenze softened his expression. “Also, thank you. Otherwise, our Duke’s residence would have been in trouble. You and Brother Lishu have done us a favor. If you need any help in the future, feel free to ask.”

Seeing Xu Wenze being grateful even after being taken advantage of, Lin Qingyang felt a bit guilty. “The plan was all thought out by Lishu. He’s your friend, and looking out for you is only natural. Thank him; I’m just an incidental helper.”

Accumulating goodwill for the male lead and continuing to use him—Xu Wenze, don’t blame me. It’s the world’s fault.

“Same,” Xu Wenze said gently. “I know there must be reasons on your end too.”

Lin Qingyang: Guilt-ridden!

Xu Wenze expressed concern again about Lin Qingyang’s health. He had noticed that Lin Qingyang wasn’t feeling well that day, but due to a hasty departure, he couldn’t inquire further. Xu Wenze brought some health supplements for him.

They continued chatting until it was time for the end of the school day. Chu Lishu, carrying a food box, returned with Qi Yan, only to find Xu Wenze sitting in his usual spot, chatting and laughing with Lin Qingyang.

Seeing this, Qi Yan turned on his heel and walked away without a word.

Chu Lishu walked in without much change in his expression, greeting Xu Wenze.

“Brother Wenze, everything went smoothly?”

Xu Wenze naturally knew what he was asking and nodded, saying, “Smoothly. I also need to thank Brother Lishu for that.”

“No need to be polite. Have you eaten, Brother Wenze?”

Xu Wenze paused for a moment. “Not yet.”

“I was not sure Brother Wenze would return early; otherwise, I would have brought an extra portion. Brother Wenze, you better go to the dining hall quickly. If you’re late, there might not be anything left to eat.” Chu Lishu gently reminded.

Xu Wenze hesitated for a moment, unable to determine if this was a polite way of asking him to leave or a genuine expression of concern. However, he courteously thanked for the reminder, “It’s okay, I’m about to leave. I’ll go back to tidy up and have to return to the residence. It might take a few days before I can come back to continue studying.” After expressing his concern for Lin Qingyang, he excused himself.

Chu Lishu then silently sat down and began to unpack the food box.

Although Lin Qingyang instinctively felt that Chu Lishu seemed a bit displeased, he also considered that he might be overthinking it. After all, this time he didn’t engage in any quirky or strange discussions. He was simply attending to his duties, revealing a more serious side to him. It was Xu Wenze who witnessed a less conventional aspect of his personality.

Therefore, feeling no guilt, Lin Qingyang began to share the news brought by Xu Wenze while eating. Chu Lishu’s reaction was relatively muted, as it was within his expectations.

“By the way, I’m a bit tired tonight and want to rest in the courtyard. I won’t accompany you in studying. I’ve taken notes for you to review. If there’s anything you don’t understand, ask me tomorrow.”

Lin Qingyang was momentarily surprised, his brows furrowing slightly. However, he quickly changed his mind, thinking of his own speculation. “Oh, sure, I got it.”

Chu Lishu, on the other hand, felt something was off, but without probing further, he nodded and left.

Why did he agree so readily?

As Lin Qingyang watched Chu Lishu leave, he breathed a sigh of relief. It occurred to him that tonight, with Chu Lishu not coming over, might be an opportunity. Even if it meant sacrificing some points, there were things he needed to figure out. If his guess was correct, he would have to confront the system head-on. He couldn’t bear the burden of such remnants of the original body.

Lin Qingyang looked at Qi Yan with a serious expression, holding the provocative remarks he had in mind about the undergarment. “Qi Yan, tonight, we’re going to Secluded Courtyard Pavilion!”

Qi Yan, hearing this, burst into laughter. “Brother, you’ve finally come to your senses. Otherwise, you’d be branded as fickle at Secluded Courtyard Pavilion.”

Lin Qingyang sneered, “I hope I’m just a fickle man. It’s better than being a wild boar trapped in a trap.”

Qi Yan, already excitedly getting ready, asked in confusion, “What are you talking about?”

On the other side, when Chu Lishu returned, Xu Wenze hadn’t left yet. He was lost in thought, staring at the neatly arranged belongings.

“You’re back.”

Chu Lishu realized that Xu Wenze was waiting for him and asked, “Is there anything else you want to discuss, Brother Wenze?”

“I talked to Lin Qingyang about what happened. He probably told you. What I want to mention is another matter. Today, Brother Lin’s health seems to be very poor. Even when sitting and talking, he keeps sweating, his eyes are unfocused. He’s also not able to concentrate.”

Chu Lishu noticed Xu Wenze’s concern for Lin Qingyang and felt a bit uneasy. “I’m keeping an eye on it too. If it gets worse, I’ll get more physicians to check on him.”

Xu Wenze looked at Chu Lishu, seeming somewhat hesitant to speak. However, after some thought, he couldn’t help but say, “What I want to say is not about that.”

Chu Lishu now genuinely looked puzzled.

“Brother Lishu, I consider you guys as friends, so I can’t help but meddle a bit. I don’t mind whatever relationship you and Lin Qingyang have now, but you still need to be careful about your behavior. After all, this is the Imperial Academy. If I see it, it’s not a big deal, but if others see it… Also, I don’t know if Lin Qingyang’s health issues are related to this… We are still young; it’s better to exercise some restraint.”

“What are you talking about?” Chu Lishu frowned.

Xu Wenze gritted his teeth, breaking through his embarrassment, “You… are intimate with Lin Qingyang…”

Chu Lishu was filled with question marks, “What? Brother Wenze, are you confused? I am innocent with Cousin…we’re very pure?” How could he be intimate with Lin Qingyang?…

Chu Lishu inexplicably thought of that night when he was pressed against by Lin Qingyang, and suddenly found it difficult to continue speaking.

Thinking that Chu Lishu might be in denial, Xu Wenze felt compelled to say, “Today when I returned, I saw Lin Qingyang holding your intimate clothing… yearning.” Sniffing someone’s intimate clothing so intoxicatedly couldn’t be Lin Qingyang’s own, it must belong to his beloved. But Lin Qingyang’s current beloved was Chu Lishu.

In the afternoon, Xu Wenze felt that Lin Qingyang and Chu Lishu had already been intimate. Chu Lishu even left his personal belongings with Lin Qingyang. It was strange for someone in such poor health to engage in such activities; the recovery of his body was even more surprising.

“Lin Qingyang’s health is not good, and you two… isn’t it more harmful to his body?”

After Xu Wenze spoke, he saw Chu Lishu’s expression gradually changing. Suddenly, Xu Wenze realized what he had said. What was he doing? Even if they were friends, he shouldn’t have made such intrusive remarks. What was wrong with him?

Xu Wenze was suddenly covered in cold sweat. He had inadvertently detected a hint of bitterness in his words just now. Oblivious to the complexity of his own situation, he didn’t have time to gauge Chu Lishu’s expression and failed to notice the intense hostility emanating from Chu Lishu.

“Do you mean he still cherishes the underclothes and didn’t throw them away?”

He secretly kept them, preserving them for two days!

“Uh… I spoke too much, sorry, just forget what I said.” Xu Wenze was already confused by his own complicated thoughts. He didn’t care about Chu Lishu; he simply grabbed his things and ran.

Leaving behind Chu Lishu with crimson eyes, emitting a cold laughter in the room. Chu Lishu certainly didn’t go to question Lin Qingyang. He wasn’t a jealous person. Even if his relationship with Lin Qingyang improved, it wouldn’t change their fundamental connection. Moreover, he had important matters to attend to tonight.

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