I Rely on the Collapse of the Character Setting to Survive in the Hands of the Male Lead Chapter 37

Chapter 37

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Just now, Lin Qingyang had been feeling somewhat uneasy all the way, fearing that his current situation might be related to the incident in the original plot where the male lead learned to use ‘addictive substances’ to strike against enemies. Given the time difference from the original plot, Lin Qingyang was still holding onto a glimmer of hope, thinking that perhaps it wasn’t the same event.

However, generally, missions are set based on the original plot. Since a mission window popped up here, it seemed that this was the place in the original plot where the male lead would subdue to addiction. Tonight’s experience accelerated everything.

Looking up, he saw the characters “Chunxiang Building” right in front of him. Lin Qingyang gradually recalled the general plot.

Lin Qingyang instinctively checked his points after taking the medicine. After using it, he had 18 points left. He wondered if it would be enough to cover the deduction for failing this mission.

Lin Qingyang didn’t want to undertake this mission, but upon second thought, it didn’t matter. Even if the mission failed, as long as the male lead didn’t change his mind, he would eventually follow the same path.

Lin Qingyang couldn’t help but sneak a glance at Chu Lishu, and Chu Lishu happened to look over as well. Lin Qingyang’s heart skipped a beat. Chu Lishu took off his cloak and draped it over Lin Qingyang, then put a hat on him.

“I fear that someone might recognize you, let’s conceal your identity.”

Lin Qingyang felt a warmth in his heart. If only the male lead could continue considering others like this, could he… choose a different approach to deal with enemies? This method truly affects many innocent people.

However, Lin Qingyang dared not speak up. He could only take it step by step.

Chunxiang Building, a famous building in the East Market.

The night market was illuminated by a thousand lights, and the high buildings were bustling with guests in red sleeves. As Lin Qingyang looked at the beautiful women enticing customers at the entrance, the scene was lively and extraordinary. Even just standing at the entrance, beautiful women were already throwing flirtatious glances at them. Lin Qingyang felt like his face was about to emit steam. While there was not much sensation at the Secluded Courtyard Pavilion, seeing the Chunxiang Building now, as a modern man transported to ancient times, it would be false to say he didn’t want to experience this.

“Tonight is quite complete. Just stepped out of the men’s den, and in the blink of an eye, we’re in the women’s den.” Yue Chen sighed, looking at Huo Luo. “Is he really here? You didn’t bring us here on purpose, did you?”

Huo Luo immediately glared at Yue Chen. “Do you think I’m you? I saw the person enter with my own eyes. I even talked to the guys at the entrance. He must be from here.”

“Looks like we have to sacrifice some charm.” Yue Chen adjusted his clothes.

“Wait, are we going in to find a young lady? Wasn’t it about finding that short guy?” Huo Luo frowned.

Yue Chen chuckled, “If we were looking for the short guy, why didn’t we just capture him directly earlier? Can’t you handle him in a fight?”

Huo Luo took a while to catch on and looked puzzledly at Lin Qingyang and Chu Lishu. “Right, you two wanted to find the culprit who harmed Young Master Lin, didn’t you? Why didn’t we just press that person down and interrogate him directly?”

Watching Huo Luo’s innocent expression, Lin Qingyang felt relieved. At least his intelligence level was on par with the future generation’s war god and famous general.

Initially, Lin Qingyang had also asked Chu Lishu this question.

However, they initially believed that the short guy was an underling of the culprit. Since they didn’t know the short guy and were afraid he might lie or refuse to talk, capturing him would have been counterproductive. They wouldn’t have learned who was behind the plot to harm Lin Qingyang, and it would have made them vulnerable in the future.

So Chu Lishu suggested tracking, as seeing is believing, and they wouldn’t have to worry about being deceived.

However, it turned out that the short guy was just a henchman of the seller. Whether he knew who placed the order or not became even more uncertain. Hence, finding the main base and identifying the boss of the seller was the most effective approach.

At that time, in the carriage, Chu Lishu and Yue Chen only had a brief communication, and they quickly understood each other. Lin Qingyang, in order not to highlight his own clumsiness, had to ponder for a long time before figuring it out.

Now, Lin Qingyang took the initiative to explain to Huo Luo, who immediately showed a look of sudden realization, patting Lin Qingyang on the shoulder and saying, “I didn’t expect you, little guy, to look not very smart but have a bright mind.”

Lin Qingyang: …

No! It must be because he hasn’t successfully lost weight yet, coupled with his bad complexion tonight, giving people the illusion of not being very smart.

However, there were a few things Lin Qingyang didn’t think about, and Chu Lishu didn’t take the time to explain to him. In fact, when he confirmed that the short man was from the seller, the wise thing to do was not to pursue further. Otherwise, with just the two of them, it would be easy to encounter danger.

But when encountering Yue Chen and Huo Luo, it was a different story. These two people feared nothing, loved causing trouble, and had the strength to back it up. Since they were investigating this matter, Chu Lishu decided to borrow their influence and take a look.

Controlling people with addictive substances, Chu Lishu couldn’t help but be interested. If they didn’t come this time and Yue Chen solved the problem, it would be difficult for him to encounter such things again.

“Not looking for the short man, then who should we ask?” Huo Luo turned to ask again.

Yue Chen was about to speak when he suddenly looked at Chu Lishu and smiled, “What do you think, Young Master Chu?”

Chu Lishu glanced at Yue Chen and said, “Ask the owner and the courtesan.”

“How do we ask?”

“Pretend to be buyers.”

Huo Luo’s eyes lit up, and he gave Chu Lishu a thumbs up. “That’s a good idea!”

Lin Qingyang saw that Yue Chen was trying to test Chu Lishu, and Chu Lishu seemed unreserved in revealing himself. It seemed they were indeed aiming to recruit and use him.

After discussing their plan, the four of them entered the Chunxiang Tower.

Inside, the pimp warmly led the four of them, learning that it was their first visit, and enthusiastically introduced them.

“It’s perfect timing for the four gentlemen to arrive. Our courtesans haven’t chosen their guests for the night. You can also give it a try.”

“Are guests chosen by the courtesans here?” Yue Chen joked.

“Of course not. Only the courtesan has that authority. Gentlemen might not know, but our courtesan is the reigning champion of the recent Capital Courtesan Competition! She’s rightfully the number one courtesan in the capital. Doesn’t she deserve such prestige? May I ask how to address the gentlemen?”

“We are surnamed Huo, and these two are surnamed Lin. We came to the capital for business,” Yue Chen lied without a hint of hesitation.

Curious, the manager asked, “May I know what kind of business?”

“We deal with fragrances, spices, and balms.”

The pimp looked slightly surprised and commented, “You gentlemen are indeed promising at such a young age.”

Once the guests were led to a private room, the manager mentioned bringing the courtesan to help them choose.

“We don’t need that for now. We are genuinely interested in getting to know the courtesan. How about you give us some inside information on how to win the heart of your esteemed courtesan?” Yue Chen didn’t need to use Huo Luo’s money pouch this time because Huo Luo had already willingly thrown out a reward.

The pimp immediately started to provide information with a smiling face, “Our courtesan is an exceptionally rare beauty. When she appears, all the flowers in the capital pale in comparison. Those who have seen her call her the reincarnation of the goddess of Luo. She is proficient in music, chess, calligraphy, and painting. After winning the Courtesan Competition, she set a rule for herself. On days when she receives guests, she selects them in her own way. The criteria for each selection are different. For example, the competition the night before involved reciting poetry to see who could recite the most. Another night, there was a contest of strength, where they wrestled to determine the winner.”

The pimp provided many examples, and while others found it fascinating, Lin Qingyang couldn’t help but sneak a glance at Chu Lishu.

“So, it’s completely random, purely based on luck?” Huo Luo asked.

The pimp smiled apologetically, “Of course, there’s still a cost to participate in the election. Maybe tonight’s luck is in your hands, sirs.”

“In that case, we want to meet the madam inside,” Huo Luo said.

Thinking they were unwilling to rely on luck and wanted to bribe the madam, the pimp explained, “At this time, the madam is busy arranging activities for later. You’ll have to wait until Miss Courtesan finishes selecting her guests.”

After the pimp left, Huo Luo expressed dissatisfaction, saying, “This place is a mess. It’s difficult just to meet someone. Why does the courtesan have so many rules for receiving guests?”

Yue Chen smiled and said, “It’s an interesting business model. The registration fee gathers a group of people for one lucky person to fulfill their wishes. For Chunxiang Building, it means a substantial amount of money. Each time is different, bringing in a sense of novelty. It doesn’t require a large amount of money to support, just the registration fee. Naturally, there are plenty of people coming every night as customers, and with a high customer flow, other expenses increase. Moreover, it has a strong autonomy. Once encountering a customer who shouldn’t be offended, they can come up with a suitable competition, let the customer win, giving them the joy of victory. It’s really clever.”

“Ridiculous. If they put so much effort into managing Chunxiang Building, why take the risk of getting involved in that other matter?” Huo Luo wondered.

“Who knows, but this is indeed their main base,” Yue Chen chuckled.

“Indeed,” Chu Lishu agreed.

Lin Qingyang exclaimed, “You can determine it so quickly?” He hadn’t had a chance to provide them with plot spoilers yet.

Yue Chen pointed to his nose, “I smelled something not quite right. I guess they’re using some simple addictive substances to keep customers coming back.”

Huo Luo straightforwardly said, “Dog’s nose!”

Lin Qingyang rubbed his nose; he only smelled the fragrance of rouge and powder.

Yue Chen rolled his eyes at Huo Luo and turned to Chu Lishu, asking, “What about you?”

Chu Lishu withdrew his gaze from observing the surroundings and pointed to a corner in an ordinary position. A person was sitting there, drinking alone. It wasn’t someone they knew, but the person’s behavior seemed a bit strange.

As Lin Qingyang continued watching, he furrowed his brows, “Withdrawal symptoms.”

“What?” Yue Chen and Huo Luo turned their attention to him.

“That person is probably addicted to something. When the term expired and he didn’t continue using, he had a relapse. He sits there, unable to concentrate, fidgeting, looking around anxiously. Even though it’s already warm here, he’s shivering as if he’s cold. It’s quite similar to some symptoms I observed before.”

“Very keen observation,” Yue Chen looked at Chu Lishu, the first to notice.

“Just a coincidence,” Chu Lishu said, and as soon as he finished speaking, someone came to take away that customer.

Yue Chen looked at Huo Luo, and Huo Luo immediately stepped out.

Before long, there was a commotion outside, with people pointing upwards. Lin Qingyang and the others looked up through the window and saw a protruding corridor on the third floor. Several women in pink dresses appeared, standing there respectfully. Soon, amid the escalating noise, a graceful figure finally emerged.

It was a woman in a red dress with a graceful and charming demeanor. As she appeared, it seemed as if she brought with her the fragrance of flowers. The bright firelight illuminated her, and her skin was as smooth as jade, with an enchanting charm.

With a red veil embroidered with exquisite peonies, partially covering her face, she appeared even more charming. The pair of large and expressive eyes that were partially revealed were soul-stirring, and just a gentle glance could drive people crazy.

The beauty of her skin and bones was truly astonishing.

Yue Chen praised his directly with a poetic line. Lin Qingyang, on the other hand, found himself at a loss for words, with only the phrase ‘Oh my god’ in his mind. His only thought was that she truly deserved to be one of the women who climbed into the male lead’s bed, given her stunning appearance.

Liu Wen’er, a renowned courtesan, was one of the women who had shared a bed with the male lead.

Thinking about Liu Wen’er’s fate, Lin Qingyang couldn’t help but look at Chu Lishu with some bitterness.

Chu Lishu was also looking at Lin Qingyang and frowned, “Why are you so excited? Is she that good-looking?”

Chu Lishu had only glanced briefly before turning his gaze away, continuing to observe the surroundings. Suddenly, he noticed that Lin Qingyang also had a look of fascination, resembling a dog spotting a bone. Lin Qingyang was known to dislike beautiful women. Could it be that even someone naturally inclined in a different direction would appreciate a beauty like her? What level of beauty could make Lin Qingyang’s aesthetic preferences return to normal?

Curious, Chu Lishu took a few more glances. However, she was just like any other woman he encountered, but with more elaborate makeup and a refined appearance.

“It’s hard to tell with the veil covering. What about you? Do you think she’s good-looking?” Lin Qingyang countered.

Chu Lishu noticed Lin Qingyang’s earnest question and was slightly taken aback. He thought, “Could it be that he’s afraid I’ll be interested in Liu Wen’er?” Shaking his head, he replied, “Average.”

Faced with the nonchalant attitude of the male lead, Lin Qingyang lamented inwardly, “Male lead, you have no heart!”

With a mix of guesswork and deduction, Lin Qingyang had a rough idea of how this plotline would unfold. In the original plot, without his involvement, Yue Chen and Huo Luo had a long way to go in solving the case. Therefore, this event occurred after the male lead entered the palace for his studies. As Yue Chen and Huo Luo investigated, they naturally uncovered a lot of information. In the later stages, they assisted the male lead, and he seized upon their findings to locate Chunxiang Building.

With such effective methods, the male lead would undoubtedly invest efforts to bring them under his control. Consequently, the male lead not only acquired the technique of using ‘addictive substances’ but also gained Chunxiang Building as his intelligence-gathering organization. In the end, he even won the heart of the courtesan Liu Wen’er.

However, in the original plot, during that period, she had already become the boss. As the owner, she could freely entertain guests. Lin Qingyang speculated that aside from occasional visits from Chu Lishu, she must have been entertaining other guests, most likely the enemies that Chu Lishu wanted to target using addictive substances. That’s why those enemies unknowingly fell prey to the poison and addiction.

She loved Chu Lishu dearly and was devoted to him, willing to do anything for him. Unfortunately, at that time, Chu Lishu didn’t care about true feelings, and after ascending to the throne, he didn’t bring her into the palace. She probably knew she wasn’t worthy, so she obediently remained the manager of the civilian intelligence-gathering organization.

On one occasion, she refused to entertain guests from a foreign country and was forced to commit suicide by swallowing gold. Although that foreign country was eventually destroyed, according to Chu Lishu’s character, no reader dared to say that he sought revenge for his woman.

Among Chu Lishu’s women, Liu Wen’er was someone both likable and pitiable. Therefore, Lin Qingyang had a deep impression of this name and had even cursed Chu Lishu as a scumbag for her sake.

But now, thinking about cursing Chu Lishu as a scumbag doesn’t seem justified. After all, Chu Lishu never deceived her feelings. Everything was voluntary on Liu Wen’er’s part. One couldn’t blame someone who never had genuine feelings to begin with.

Oh well, other people’s emotions are subjective, and one can’t control them. It’s better to think about how the male lead handled the situation back then.

Lin Qingyang thought for a long time but couldn’t recall the details. It was probably a typical hero-saving-the-beauty scenario or using some leverage to threaten, as the process of winning over a beauty is generally similar. There was no time for Lin Qingyang to ponder further, as the challenges outside had already begun.

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