I Rely on the Collapse of the Character Setting to Survive in the Hands of the Male Lead Chapter 42

Chapter 42

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The hoarse and painful voice reverberated in Chu Lishu’s eardrums. The trembling body appeared helpless and frail, holding onto him tightly as if a drowning person clung to a lifeline. It seemed that he was the only source of reliance.

“Chu Lishu, wuwu…”

Lin Qingyang cried in discomfort, tears, mucus, and even saliva mixed together and flowed down Chu Lishu’s neck, as if molten lava sliding over, scalding his skin.

It was an indescribable discomfort, a dual collapse of both mind and body.

Every distressed syllable uttered by Lin Qingyang hammered against Chu Lishu’s heart.

Chu Lishu instantly felt as if his own breathing had been affected. In a moment of panic, he swiftly took action and directly knocked Lin Qingyang unconscious.

Lin Qingyang slumped, his body sliding down. Chu Lishu caught him, paused for a moment, then approached the bed. He gently laid Lin Qingyang down, examining his pale face. His body continued to convulse.

Chu Lishu stood silently by the bedside for a while, reaching out to wipe away the tears lingering at the corners of Lin Qingyang’s eyes.

Strolling over, Liu Wen’er said, “Don’t worry. It will pass. But his willpower is really impressive. The incense was in his hands just now, yet he managed to restrain himself from throwing it away. Most people would have succumbed by now.”

Chu Lishu didn’t respond. Instead, he asked Liu Wen’er for hot water and used a handkerchief to wipe Lin Qingyang’s face.

Liu Wen’er looked at Chu Lishu strangely, feeling that since Lin Qingyang rushed out just now, Chu Lishu’s entire demeanor had changed.

The Chu Lishu from before gave her a feeling of dealing with a tiger, watching him try to change their fate with his own strength, manipulating the situation for his benefit, as if she could hear him planning and manipulating everyone in the next moment.

However, the current Chu Lishu has been quiet, as if pondering something. He has returned to the image of the innocent young master.

“Young Master, about what we discussed just now…”

Just as Liu Wen’er was getting anxious, afraid that Chu Lishu might change his mind, there was suddenly another commotion outside.

Chu Lishu observed the scene outside the window, witnessing a large group of government soldiers surrounding Chunxiang Building.

It seemed that the two people who escaped earlier had taken real action. The situation had completely escalated. However, as the madam mentioned, as long as there was no evidence, even if someone came to arrest them, it would be futile.

But according to Chu Lishu’s previous statement, one of those two people recognized the writing of the Tianwu Clan. In case they found evidence on the courtesans, although it might lead to the arrest of the madam and others, the courtesans would also be exposed and in danger. The thought of the gruesome scene of being skinned alive made Liu Wen’er anxious.

“Young Master, I agree to everything you said. Please, find a way to save us. Just don’t let others discover the secret behind us. I’m willing to do anything,” Liu Wen’er pleaded desperately.

But Chu Lishu remained silent.

Before long, Huo Luo, accompanied by government soldiers, barged into Liu Wen’er’s room. Liu Wen’er stood nervously on the side, and on the bed lay Lin Qingyang.

“Where’s the other person?” Huo Luo questioned.

However, Liu Wen’er only shook her head and said, “I don’t know. He left on his own just now.”

Huo Luo paused for a moment, a bit confused about the current situation. He then went to the corridor and shouted downstairs.

At this moment, Yue Chen, along with the deputy minister of the Imperial Court of Justice Review and the city garrison, had begun to arrest the madam and others.

The madam struggled and tried to argue, claiming that the enchanting fragrance was just a common aphrodisiac and couldn’t strictly be considered an addictive substance. She insisted that similar items were present in various brothels, and they had not been in contact with any addictive substances.

However, the government officials were not easily swayed by her cunning defense. They decided to gather evidence before drawing any conclusions.

All rooms in Chunxiang Building were to be searched. Guests and the courtesans from the brothel were separated, with guests being checked in the main hall for any signs of addiction. The courtesans were escorted to the backyard to await individual questioning.

Among the guests, there were those with status and influence, making the situation quite troublesome when disputes arose.

Yue Chen, lacking an official position, had no interest in getting involved in the mess. Upon hearing Huo Luo calling him, he left the chaotic scene to the two officials, choosing to stroll away.

It was due to the close cooperation between these two officials and Yue Chen and Huo Luo, who often helped them gain promotions and titles, that the officials had such trust in them. Even if the matter seemed unreliable, as long as Yue Chen was confident, they were willing to embark on a risky journey for wealth and prestige.

Yue Chen went upstairs and learned that Chu Lishu had left on his own. Yue Chen’s expression changed slightly, immediately instructing Huo Luo to watch over Lin Qingyang. He then rushed out, searching each room quickly but failing to find Chu Lishu. Yue Chen calculated in his mind and decided to return to look for Lin Qingyang.

At this moment, Liu Wen’er had already been taken away, leaving only Lin Qingyang lying on the bed.

Yue Chen briefly checked Lin Qingyang’s pulse and pondered for a moment. “It seems like he inhaled the enchanting fragrance here, which clashed with something on his body. His breathing is steady, so it shouldn’t be a big problem.”

“But why would Chu Lishu leave him alone here? How strange,” Huo Luo asked.

Yue Chen frowned slightly, his tone expressing a mixture of emotions. “Perhaps there’s something more important than his cousin.”

“Huh?” Huo Luo didn’t understand.

Just as they were discussing, the person on the bed slowly woke up.

Exhausted, Lin Qingyang opened his eyes and found himself facing Yue Chen and Huo Luo. He was confused for a moment, then gradually recalled what had happened before. Instantly, his pale face turned red with embarrassment, and miraculously, a hint of color returned to his cheeks.

Although he felt a bit ashamed to face the male lead at the moment, Lin Qingyang looked around and didn’t see him. Suddenly, he became anxious, recalling that he had heard Liu Wen’er seeking help from Chu Lishu.

If following the original plot, is the male lead currently figuring out a way to acquire the ‘addictive substance’ skill?

“Where’s my cousin?” Lin Qingyang asked anxiously.

Both Yue Chen and Huo Luo shook their heads, indicating they didn’t know. They first inquired about Lin Qingyang’s health, expressing surprise when they learned that he had successfully overcome withdrawal. Then, they began asking about what had happened since they entered the room.

Lin Qingyang was anxious, and while getting up and walking with them, he recounted the events that had transpired earlier.

At this point, it can be assumed that the male lead is probably figuring out how to acquire the ‘addictive substance’ skill. It’s now evident that Lin Qingyang knows about the existence of this skill, but whether he is willing to come forward as a witness is uncertain.

Once they stepped outside, they could hear the exaggerated shouts of the madam and the commotion among the customers below.

Huo Luo frowned and said, “Did we act recklessly this time?”

Yue Chen glanced at him and said, “Isn’t it because someone refused to sacrifice? What’s wrong with getting kissed on the cheek by a woman in her forties? At least she was a beauty in her younger days.”

Huo Luo’s face turned dark instantly, glaring at Yue Chen who was smirking. “Clearly, no matter what I said at the time, it wouldn’t have worked. We were about to get physical.”

Seeing Huo Luo looking annoyed, Yue Chen said, “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything without certainty. We can’t let our military rising star Huo be taken advantage of for nothing, right?”

Huo Luo snorted, “Without evidence, let’s see how certain you are.”

Yue Chen nonchalantly replied, “No evidence? Can’t we fabricate evidence? Anyway, they’re all guilty of something, who cares if it’s legal or not? Just capture them.”

Huo Luo was dumbfounded, “You…”

Not just Huo Luo, even Lin Qingyang looked at Yue Chen with some disbelief.

“One should be more flexible in their thinking. Anyway, we’re not officials; we can create some fake evidence,” Yue Chen laughed like a fox, displaying the style of someone who would argue with ministers for a tyrant in the future.

People who were too straightforward probably wouldn’t completely side with a tyrant.

Yue Chen suddenly pointed his finger at Lin Qingyang, “And there’s a victim, right? Adding Yu Zhang, we’ve completely set up a case.”

Lin Qingyang raised an eyebrow, immediately taking a step back. “We agreed to cooperate; I only want the list of people who harmed me.”

Is this a joke? It’s not that Lin Qingyang doesn’t want to be a witness, but once he gets involved in this matter, his future will be ruined. Whether it’s about the addictive substance or his infatuation with the young attendant, either point would be enough to deprive him of the right to study at the Imperial Academy and his future status as the heir to Marquis An Nan. How can he continue to accompany the male lead and undertake missions in the future? Therefore, exposing these dark secrets is absolutely not an option for him.

Initially, Chu Lishu and Yue Chen should have had this kind of tacit understanding, which is why they actively sought other evidence.

Yue Chen patted Lin Qingyang on the shoulder, his smile becoming even more unpredictable. “Well, it depends on what Young Master Chu plans to do, doesn’t it?”

Lin Qingyang’s heart skipped a beat. He felt that Yue Chen might have guessed something because, in the original story, Yue Chen’s intelligence was second only to the male lead.

Chu Lishu must have obtained something significant for him to leave. Whatever he is doing now, Yue Chen probably wants to know. This is like using Lin Qingyang’s future to coerce Chu Lishu. If Chu Lishu does something contrary to Yue Chen’s goals, Yue Chen might take action against Lin Qingyang.

Chu Lishu wants to acquire ‘Addictive Substance,’ but Yue Chen is not Chu Lishu’s subordinate yet, and his goal is to combat ‘Addictive Substance.’

Their objectives are completely opposite.

Lin Qingyang finally realized this, feeling both frustrated and helpless. Even if he now has a better relationship with Chu Lishu, it doesn’t mean that Chu Lishu will sacrifice his ‘convenience’ for him.

“Young Master Yue has always been clever; he must have a better plan. Why don’t we discuss how to forge evidence?” Lin Qingyang remained calm. After all, he had successfully overcome his addiction, and this substance couldn’t be detected. It would be challenging to pin this on them.

“Of course, what I mentioned was just a last resort.” Yue Chen grinned.

Lin Qingyang felt exhausted. His body was still in a state of weakness, and waking up to Yue Chen’s intimidation was not helping.

Impatient with their cryptic conversation, Huo Luo went downstairs to assist in intimidating those involved, especially the one they had their eyes on earlier. As he reached downstairs, he was met with the loud protests from the madam, claiming that the authorities were unjustly arresting people without evidence.

At this moment, another group of officials arrived. It was unclear whether they were acting on behalf of the hidden boss of the Chunxiang Building or simply responding to the reported case to maintain public order. As more people gathered, the situation became chaotic.

Lin Qingyang had no interest in how they were handling the case. Leaning against the wall, his body almost limp from exhaustion, he scanned the area for Chu Lishu, but there was no sign of him. Lin Qingyang decided to use the automatic navigation feature provided by the system.

Soon, he spotted a figure emerging from the passage leading to the backyard.

It was Chu Lishu.

“Who goes there!”

As he was acting alone, Chu Lishu was quickly apprehended by the guards.

Yue Chen and Huo Luo noticed and explained that Chu Lishu was their companion, leading to Chu Lishu’s release.

Seeing Chu Lishu’s displeased expression, as if he had messed something up, Yue Chen smiled with a hint of malice. “Why did you leave your cousin alone? What were you doing just now?”

As soon as Chu Lishu emerged, he spotted Lin Qingyang, who was barely standing in the corner. Lin Qingyang’s eyes were fixed on him, shining as if a dog had seen its owner, unwavering and filled with devotion. This scene eased the tension in Chu Lishu’s heart a bit.

“I didn’t do anything? I just went searching for the list.”

“I’ve already searched thoroughly; but I couldn’t find anything,” Yue Chen squinted at Chu Lishu, seemingly skeptical of his words.

Just as they were talking, the commotion grew louder. The madam directly shouted, “This humble one demands justice! If there is no explanation for today’s events, this humble one will commit suicide beside the drum of justice tomorrow.”

The surrounding guests joined in, as being arbitrarily arrested and interrogated was indeed infuriating. Everyone had connections behind them.

Even the deputy minister and the others couldn’t hold on any longer, they looked towards Yue Chen and Huo Luo with pleading eyes.

Yue Chen stroked his chin, caught between fabricating evidence and using Lin Qingyang. However, when his gaze shifted towards Lin Qingyang, he found that Chu Lishu had directly blocked his line of sight, his icy eyes seeming to see through Yue Chen’s schemes.

Yue Chen smiled, “Actually, it’s not that difficult. I can vouch for him…”

“Young Master Yue, please calm down.” As Chu Lishu’s words fell, a report came in, “Reporting to the lord, the courtesan Liu Wen’er from Chunxiang Pavilion has something to report.”

Initially, Liu Wen’er stayed in the backyard with the other courtesans.

Upon hearing that she had something to say, the madam in the hall couldn’t help but tremble. However, after some consideration, she felt that Liu Wen’er probably wouldn’t dare to betray them. Even if she did, those people might not…

It was only when Liu Wen’er was brought up that the madam gradually felt that something was amiss. The look Liu Wen’er gave her was resolute and determined.

“I, as a humble woman, wish to report the madam of Chunxiang Building for forcing me to make and sell ‘Addiction Substainces,’ subjecting me to coercion and persecution. This is the list of orders for ‘Addiction Substainces’ that the madam has made during this period. I implore the lords to intervene on my behalf.”

With these words, the whole scene erupted into chaos. The madam stood there dumbfounded, and Yue Chen rushed over almost flying to get hold of the list, looking at it in astonishment. “How did you find this?”

“It was in a hidden compartment in the room where the madam refines the fragrances,” Liu Wen’er said with a glint in her eyes.

“You wretched woman! You’re talking nonsense! What fragrances, what hidden compartment, what list? I know nothing about it!” The madam almost leaped forward, but was immediately restrained by Huo Luo.

Since Liu Wen’er was taken away until now, even if someone wasn’t watching her every moment, she wouldn’t have had the time to find a hidden compartment. Moreover, Yue Chen had already searched that room. If he, with his intelligence, couldn’t find a hidden compartment, how could Liu Wen’er have found it unless… Yue Chen looked at Chu Lishu in an instant.

Chu Lishu, however, remained expressionless and walked away.

Lin Qingyang was also puzzled by the current turn of events. Was the case solved so easily?

Now that Liu Wen’er had revealed the information, everyone knew she might be involved with the addictive substance. This posed a problem for her future covert assistance to the male lead.

Lin Qingyang looked at Chu Lishu again, only to find him walking towards him.

“Cousin, how’s your health?” Chu Lishu asked calmly, as if the events behind him were no longer of his concern.

“You…” Faced with Chu Lishu, Lin Qingyang was momentarily at a loss for words.

“Your complexion still looks terrible. Haven’t you recovered yet?” Chu Lishu asked, furrowing his brows.

Lin Qingyang could sense that Chu Lishu’s concern was more about an unresolved issue bothering him than genuine care for him. Chu Lishu’s mood seemed foul, evident from the tense corners of his mouth. Lin Qingyang dared not touch on the sensitive topic and carefully replied, “I apologize for the trouble I caused while under the influence of the addictive substance. I have overcome it now.”

Chu Lishu remained silent, leaning against a pillar with a stern expression. He gazed into the distance, watching the play, but the tightly furrowed brows revealed the underlying pressure. The nearby little cannon folder occasionally flinched in response to this oppressive atmosphere.

Lin Qingyang was perplexed about the situation. Was Chu Lishu upset because his plan had failed, or had his own actions thoroughly disgusted the male lead?

As the commotion continued ahead, despite the shocking evidence in the form of the registry, the madam denied its ownership, insisting that a mere book couldn’t prove anything.

In the midst of this, Liu Wen’er, however, boldly declared, “The evidence is on me!”

The madam couldn’t believe her eyes. After the miserable lesson they had all witnessed before, why would the courtesans dare to step forward again? Weren’t they afraid of facing severe consequences?

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