I Rely on the Collapse of the Character Setting to Survive in the Hands of the Male Lead Chapter 38

Chapter 38

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This time, the selection method was truly a matter of luck. Liu Wen’er would later bring out a flower, and if the name of the flower matched that of any gentleman present, it would be considered a victory.

Liu Wen’er left the instructions and returned to her room to await the results.

Before long, the pimp came in to inquire if they wanted to participate. If they did, each person had to contribute ten taels of silver as an entry fee.

Huo Luo’s money pouch had just been dropped, and Yue Chen directly picked it up to pay forty taels.

The pimp then brought out paper and pen, asking each person to write down the name of a flower.

“What if several people guess correctly? Or what if no one guesses correctly?” Yue Chen asked with a smile.

The pimp chuckled, “Rest assured, gentlemen, we have suitable responses to ensure everyone’s satisfaction.”

“Alright, let’s write. I hope at least one of us four gets it right. Let me think if there are any hints. Liu Wen’er just wore a veil with peony colors, a jade hairpin, or patterns on her clothes?” Yue Chen pondered while holding the pen and paper.

Chu Lishu didn’t hesitate and directly wrote something down.

Yue Chen curiously asked, “Any particular reason?”

“No, I just picked a less common flower,” Chu Lishu casually replied. Anyway, if they couldn’t see it for real, they could rely on Huo Luo to secretly infiltrate for a more forceful collaboration.

“You’re quite casual about your choice,” Yue Chen quipped, then turned to Lin Qingyang, asking, “How about you?”

Lin Qingyang glanced at what Chu Lishu wrote. Based on the protagonist’s halo, it must be the one Chu Lishu wrote. If Chu Lishu guessed it right, then he alone could easily follow the normal plot. By then… this mission might automatically be completed.

But… did they really want the male lead to master this skill? To let him open the channel for ‘addictive substances’ in the Great Zhou Dynasty? He was destined to be an emperor, doing this…

Lin Qingyang was conflicted. After thinking it over, he wrote down a flower name, planning to play it by ear.

When Yue Chen asked, Lin Qingyang shook his head, saying, “It’s a secret.”

Yue Chen cut in with a sound, wrote one for himself, and also wrote one for Huo Luo before handing them all to the pimp.

Soon, Huo Luo came back, and Yue Chen quickly asked about the situation.

Huo Luo said, “I’ve waited in the madam’s room, but she wasn’t there, so…”

“It seems it doesn’t matter whether we get to see the courtesan. We already have a confirmed target.”

As they were talking, the answers were being announced outside.

Only to see Liu Wen’er coming out again, holding a purple flower in her hand. Instantly, there was a wail and sighs among the guests.

Yue Chen looked at Chu Lishu in astonishment; neither he nor Huo Luo had guessed correctly, but he remembered that Chu Lishu had written this one.

Chu Lishu also looked surprised; he had just written one casually.

“Guessed it?” Yue Chen exclaimed in surprise. “With such good luck, that’s perfect. Leave the madam to us, and you go investigate Liu Wen’er’s background. If she is also involved in this matter, we’ll gain even more control.”

Not long after, the woman above announced, “Young Master Lin, congratulations!”

To eliminate the possibility of others guessing the same flower, they continued to examine the notes. However, the woman who had just made the announcement paused for a moment, then exclaimed in surprise, “Another one? Is there another Young Master Lin in Room 7 on the second floor?”

In an instant, all three people in the room looked at Lin Qingyang.

“Did you both write the same thing?” Yue Chen asked in confusion.

Chu Lishu also looked at him in astonishment.

Lin Qingyang awkwardly said, “I just thought that in case cousin guessed it right, I was worried about him taking risks. After all, he came for my sake. How could I let him do it alone? Heh… heh…”

Yue Chen looked at him with an indescribable expression, and Huo Luo was puzzled. Chu Lishu, however, seemed thoughtful.

By the time it was confirmed outside that there were two Young Master Lins, and they were brothers who came together, there was an uproar. Naturally, Liu Wen’er couldn’t accommodate two guests in one night. She intended to discuss with the two guests and arrange to entertain them on two separate nights.

The pimp came to inquire, but before Chu Lishu could speak, he saw Lin Qingyang hastily say, “We brothers are from out of town and don’t have much time to stay. We just want to appreciate Miss Wen’er’s elegance. We don’t ask for anything else. Could you please arrange for us brothers to meet her together and have a casual chat?”

The pimp looked at Lin Qingyang as if he were an idiot, then looked at Chu Lishu. Surprisingly, the latter didn’t object. It was truly unbelievable.

The pimp conveyed the request, and to their surprise, Liu Wen’er agreed.

Yue Chen gave Lin Qingyang a thumbs up, expressing admiration. However, the gaze he cast on both of them became more curious, as if he had already understood why Lin Qingyang did this. Wasn’t it just because he was worried that his companion couldn’t resist the charm of other beauties, so he insisted on tagging along? It was too easy to understand.

Lin Qingyang turned his head stiffly and looked at Chu Lishu, engaging in small talk, “Tonight, I’ve delayed cousin’s good deed. However, we still don’t know what’s going on here. It’s better to prioritize safety. In the future, cousin, I’ll find a chance to make it up to you.”

Chu Lishu retracted his gaze, putting on a casual appearance, saying, “Cousin, don’t tease me. I came here for a serious matter.”

Humph, Lin Qingyang knew very well what was on Chu Lishu’s mind. He was just being overly cautious. How could he be someone who forgets his purpose at the sight of beauty? Nevertheless, seeing Lin Qingyang so nervous and playing tricks, it was quite amusing.

“Alright, let’s split up. We’ll deal with the madam, and you handle the courtesan. If necessary, use extreme measures. Since we’re here tonight, we must return with something,” reminded Yue Chen.

Soon, under the envious and mysterious gaze of the others, Lin Qingyang and Chu Lishu arrived at the room of the courtesan, Liu Wen’er.

At this moment, Liu Wen’er was holding a pipa, seemingly contemplating something. Upon their entrance, she stood up to greet them with elegance, looking as gentle as flowing water.

A jade-like hand slowly lifted, fingertips like bamboo shoots, wrist resembling white lotus roots. She gently removed the peony veil, and with each movement, her eyes followed suit. Finally, she looked at the guests. The face beneath the veil was stunning, leaving people breathless.

At least Lin Qingyang had never seen such a majestic beauty before, and his heart was thrown off balance.

“Your servant girl, Liu Wen’er, has the pleasure of meeting the two gentlemen. Please be seated,” her voice, like the vibrations of a stringed instrument, was enough to melt one’s heart.

Lin Qingyang instantly felt nervous. His movements as he walked over and sat down were stiff, as if afraid of becoming the subject of the beauty’s laughter.

On the other hand, Chu Lishu appeared completely at ease. He didn’t spare many glances at Liu Wen’er, and his attention was focused on the layout of the entire room. This was his habit; whenever he entered an unfamiliar place, he would observe his surroundings first, aiming for familiarity and control.

The two distinctly different individuals sparked a hint of curiosity in Liu Wen’er, especially when she saw Chu Lishu’s face. She paused for a moment, her cheeks turning crimson. Instead of resembling a professional courtesan, she looked more like a shy young girl.

Seeing Liu Wen’er’s reaction, Lin Qingyang couldn’t help but feel annoyed. Was she judging based on appearances alone? Was this tragic and pitiful infatuation in the original plot derived from just one face?

Lin Qingyang looked displeased as he turned his gaze toward Chu Lishu. Although he had long gotten used to it, he had to admit that Chu Lishu’s side profile was perfect. According to the original plot, the true appearance of Yuan Ran was even more handsome than Chu Lishu’s face.

Well, if he were a woman, he would probably prioritize looks too.

Liu Wen’er’s gaze, something Chu Lishu had grown accustomed to, was as commonplace as air and went unnoticed. However, the intense gaze from the side, Chu Lishu couldn’t ignore.

What was he doing? He was still staring at his face while they were supposed to be handling serious matters? Usually, he didn’t withhold his face, so why the extra attention now?

Chu Lishu felt a bit restless being scrutinized like this. Unable to contain his irritation, he turned his head to remind Lin Qingyang.

However, as their eyes met, Lin Qingyang, feeling guilty, quickly averted his gaze. Meanwhile, sitting across from them, Liu Wen’er was bewildered by the seemingly flirtatious exchange between the two men: What were they doing? Shouldn’t they be looking at me instead?

“Is it your first time here, sirs? May I do anything for you?” Liu Wen’er interjected.

“Seeing Miss Wen’er holding a pipa, would you mind playing a tune?” Chu Lishu spoke up.

“Of course. Do you have any particular song in mind?” Liu Wen’er smiled.

“Brother, what do you want to hear?”

Being called “brother” by the male lead was a bit different from being called “cousin.” Lin Qingyang felt a flutter in his heart. “You decide,” he replied.

Chu Lishu casually chose a piece, and Liu Wen’er began to play.

Although Lin Qingyang didn’t have much appreciation for classical music, he thought Liu Wen’er played the pipa quite well. Watching a beautiful woman play the instrument was indeed pleasing to the eyes. However, whenever he thought of his addiction issue, Lin Qingyang felt a lump in his heart. Beautiful as she may be, getting involved with addictive substances was not a good idea.

As Lin Qingyang was lamenting in his heart, he suddenly felt an itch on his thigh, and he shivered all over. Someone was touching his thigh!

Wait a minute, wasn’t Chu Lishu sitting next to him?

Why was the male lead touching his leg under the table?

Moreover, right in front of his future woman?

Lin Qingyang felt a shiver down his spine, and goosebumps appeared on his skin. His instinctive reaction was repulsion.

However, he quickly realized what Chu Lishu was doing. Chu Lishu was communicating with him by writing on his leg.

“Fragrance powder, transaction.”

Lin Qingyang, clever enough, understood that the male lead wanted his cooperation in finding a starting point for conversation.

Following the male lead’s lead, Lin Qingyang put his hand down, using the tablecloth as a cover. He reached below and found Chu Lishu’s thigh, moving his fingers slowly on it.

Having just written one word, Lin Qingyang felt the muscles in Chu Lishu’s thigh tense up, like a piece of steel.

What’s this? Afraid of itching?

Lin Qingyang looked at Chu Lishu with confusion, but his expression remained indifferent, as if he had no reaction at all.

On the other hand, Chu Lishu’s ear, partially hidden by his dark, flowing hair, turned red, making the black mole on it more prominent.

Indeed, he’s afraid of itching. Lin Qingyang found it unexpectedly amusing that the male lead had such a weakness.

Lin Qingyang, understanding Chu Lishu’s discomfort, promptly lifted Chu Lishu’s hand from his thigh and placed it on his own thigh. He smoothed Chu Lishu’s slightly curled fingers and continued writing on the back of his hand. They had done this before in the secret chamber, so his hand shouldn’t be itchy now.

However, before Lin Qingyang could finish writing, Chu Lishu’s hand seemed to hastily slip away.

The reactions from these two instances…

Lin Qingyang: !!!

He understood now. He was the secret admirer of the male lead’s character. Whatever the male lead did to him was considered normal because the male lead was a straight guy. However, if he opposed the male lead doing such things, it would seem like he was missing out on the opportunity. The male lead was avoiding him!

Very clever move. It’s fortunate that he figured it out. If he were to chase after Chu Lishu again, the male lead might lose his temper on the spot. After all, who could endure being flirted with by a man again and again?

He shouldn’t get too complacent just because the male lead treated him a bit better tonight. In the past, it was because he couldn’t see clearly. It was somewhat excusable if he got hugged and pulled around. But now, he needed to be more cautious.

In his heart, Lin Qingyang lit a mental candle, hoping the male lead would understand the situation. Even though he didn’t finish writing just now, the male lead should understand his intentions.

Because when Lin Qingyang entered, he noticed there was an incense burner here, and the lingering fragrance was somewhat similar to the hallucination-inducing incense he was exposed to. He was afraid there might be a problem, so he reminded the male lead to be careful. This subtle difference in the incense, besides Yue Chen’s keen sense of smell, probably only someone like Lin Qingyang, who had been fascinated by it before, could notice.

Soon, Liu Wen’er had finished playing. When she looked up and saw them, she was instantly confused.

One person’s face showed a sense of relief, while the other’s face displayed irritation.

Was her music really that bad?!

Liu Wen’er felt insulted for the first time, a bit displeased. She directly asked, “I wonder what the two gentlemen Lin think of the piece I played?”

Lin Qingyang quickly praised, “This piece is like a person, marvelous, beautiful, truly lingering, intoxicating. Coupled with the fragrance in this room, I thought I was in a fairyland, listening to celestial music.”

Perhaps having heard such praises too often, Liu Wen’er just smiled faintly, showing no particular response, then looked at Chu Lishu.

Chu Lishu thought for a moment and said, “The original intention of this piece is ‘high mountains and flowing water, leisure in the mortal world.’ Although Miss Liu’s technique is great, and her performance is beautiful, her mindset doesn’t reflect the intended meaning, which is regrettable.”

Lin Qingyang was puzzled, not understanding why the male lead was finding fault.

Liu Wen’er, however, was stunned. Her usually formal expression now carried a hint of brilliance. With eyes full of emotion, she asked, “Would the gentleman be willing to elaborate?”

Lin Qingyang: …

Chu Lishu, born into the royal family, naturally possessed such insights. He straightforwardly pointed out, “In Miss Liu’s music, I only heard a sense of melancholy, like a bird trapped in a cage, unable to see high mountains and flowing water, hence lacking a sense of freedom. If you conceal the feelings of melancholy in your next performance, the true essence of this piece will be revealed.”

Lin Qingyang listened in amazement. Bullsh*t, can you hear so much? But when he turned to look, Liu Wen’er’s eyes were actually red.

“The gentleman speaks the truth, truly understanding the essence of my music,” Liu Wen’er said, looking at Chu Lishu with even more affectionate eyes.

“And the scent my brother just mentioned, although the fragrance is strong, it is not appropriate. If one wishes to play seriously, this fragrance is not suitable,” Chu Lishu said, deliberately glancing at Lin Qingyang.

Lin Qingyang instantly understood, “No way, I think this fragrance is quite good. My little brother is probably drunk, his nose is not working well.”

“No, I just feel that this fragrance doesn’t match this song,” Chu Lishu clarified.

The discussion about the fragrance seemed to become heated between the two. Liu Wen’er looked a bit awkward for a moment and said, “There hasn’t been any incense burned in the room. But I heard that both of you are in the spice business from out of town, indeed more sensitive to fragrances.”

Lin Qingyang’s eyes lit up; good, the topic shifted.

So, the two began chatting with Liu Wen’er, from fragrances to harmful scents and then to addictive fragrances. Liu Wen’er’s expression gradually changed.

It seemed that her admiration for Chu Lishu had diminished quite a bit.

After chatting for a while, Liu Wen’er stood up and said, “Since both of you are so familiar with fragrances, why not try the incense in my room?”

Saying this, Liu Wen’er came to the incense burner to prepare the incense.

The moment the fragrance wafted out, Lin Qingyang’s expression changed. It resembled the fragrance of the Illusion Brain Incense. He immediately looked at Chu Lishu.

Chu Lishu was already mentally prepared. When Liu Wen’er intentionally brought the incense burner in front of them, he reacted instantly. His dagger flashed out, pointing directly at Liu Wen’er’s neck.

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