I Rely on the Collapse of the Character Setting to Survive in the Hands of the Male Lead Chapter 44

Chapter 44

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“When I arrived at Chunxiang Building, I recalled several murder cases related to Chunxiang Building. In those cases, women were skinned. Could this be the initial reason why the women in the Chunxiang Building were hesitant to speak up? Before being captured, they even tried to find a way to remove their tattoos…” Yue Chen casually talked, seemingly indifferent, but he had already analyzed and sorted out all his doubts.

Seeing Chu Lishu’s unchanged expression, he had already figured out most of it.

Yue Chen showed a joyful expression as if he had discovered something extremely interesting.

Finally, with a smile, he said, “Ah, is it like this? Liu Wen’er trusted Young Master Chu, informed him of the truth, sought his help, and coincidentally, we arrived. You took advantage of this opportunity to break into the madam’s secret room, find the list and the tattoo-removing solution, then secretly put the solution into the pool. You instructed Liu Wen’er to inform others that, before being captured, they must jump into the pool to wash away their tattoos. This way, they could clean themselves from this matter, and they wouldn’t face danger because others coveted the formula behind them.”

“Liu Wen’er didn’t wash herself to use it as evidence to convict the madam. And because she’s the only witness left, no matter who wants to manipulate behind the scenes, the Imperial Court of Justice Review will keep this unique witness under control. In other words, Liu Wen’er is absolutely safe.”

As Yue Chen finished speaking, the entire carriage fell into silence.

Lin Qingyang couldn’t believe his eyes as he looked at Chu Lishu. What had he just heard? The truth he had constructed in his mind had completely collapsed.

So it wasn’t that the male lead had an unfortunate failure?

It was the male lead… sabotaging his own new method?

The male lead didn’t want to harm others with the addictive substance?

A tremendous amount of information suddenly surged through Lin Qingyang’s brain, leaving him staring fixedly at the side profile of Chu Lishu, unable to react.

It wasn’t until Chu Lishu chuckled softly, “Young Master Yue, what an interesting story you’ve crafted.”

However, Yue Chen wasn’t angry. He said, “To complete the story I’ve spun, two things are needed. First, this person must be intelligent enough to know that finding the list and the solution is no easy task. Even with the information provided by Liu Wen’er, it still requires their own cleverness. Second, they must not be greedy. This is what I admire the most. How many formulas for addictive substances are there? How much is one formula worth, and how significant is its utility? Yet, they actually destroyed it willingly, without wanting it for themselves?”

Yue Chen looked at the gradually changing expression in Chu Lishu’s eyes and continued, “If you hadn’t intervened tonight, Liu Wen’er wouldn’t have dared to step forward. Our case might not progress any further. You could have used this as leverage to gain numerous benefits from the madam, rather than just getting a smile from the courtesan. Isn’t that a pity? The Chu family… isn’t it already dwindled? If I were you, I might have used this substance to revitalize the Chu family, rather than staying in someone else’s shadow…”

Yes, the male lead could have done it. According to Yue Chen, the male lead could have easily taken control of the addictive substance. He would have found a way, but instead, he chose not to. He even helped Liu Wen’er expose the matter, cutting off all routes for those who intended to use the addictive substance, and also cutting off his own.

Seeing that Chu Lishu remained silent, Yue Chen suddenly saluted and said, “Young Master, you’ve acted with great righteousness. Not only have you fulfilled our investigative intentions, but you’ve also ensured the safety of those young courtesans’ lives. Such a good deed, feel free to tell me about it. I’m also willing to cooperate.”

However, Chu Lishu’s expression remained unpleasant.

At that moment, the soldiers were about to arrive, and Liu Wen’er intended to agree to his conditions. All he needed to do was temporarily mislead Yue Chen and the others, safeguarding Chunxiang Building. Once the situation had passed, he could proceed with the plan to deal with the madam. Everything would fall into place. The dozens of addictive substance formulas, along with Chunxiang Building, would become his revenge’s power. He needed this strength.

However, as he watched Lin Qingyang struggle on the verge of death, he unexpectedly asked Liu Wen’er directly where the madam would go when she’s alone.

He thought that if he couldn’t find the things he had envisioned, it would be heaven helping him. However, fate didn’t favor him. Instead, it led him to find everything he needed for the plan. Subsequently, he had no choice but to change his mind, telling Liu Wen’er that it was just a test, and he was a ‘righteous man’ willing to help without any ulterior motives.

Throughout the entire process, Chu Lishu almost gritted his teeth to complete it. He kept questioning himself about the purpose of all this. It wasn’t until he returned to the hall and saw Lin Qingyang standing in the corner, looking as if a gust of wind could blow him away, that he realized he had lost weight in just one night.

Well, Chu Lishu told himself, addictive substances are uncontrollable, might not be as useful as imagined, and could easily drive people to desperate measures. Moreover, they attract unwanted attention. He could find other ways to deal with enemies; this kind of thing… it’s better for it to disappear from the land of the Great Zhou Dynasty!

However, in a rational sense, admitting to such a foolish act was something he truly didn’t want to do. Now, with Yue Chen’s analysis, he regretted the impulsive decision even more.

“It’s not me,” Chu Lishu said stiffly.

Yue Chen chuckled, “If it wasn’t you who handed the order registry to Liu Wen’er, why haven’t you inquired about it until now? Isn’t that what you came for?”

Lin Qingyang stared blankly at Chu Lishu for a while. He hadn’t fully processed the situation, and now he realized there was this additional layer. Yue Chen was suggesting that Chu Lishu had already seen the registry?

Chu Lishu remained composed, “Indeed, we came for that, but things developed too quickly. The registry has already been handed over to the deputy of the Imperial Court of Justice Review. We couldn’t get a glimpse of it. We wanted to ask Young Master Yue for help. Seeing you have mentioned it, can you assist us?”

Yue Chen smiled, glancing casually at Chu Lishu. “I flipped through it. But it’s quite strange, there was no sign of Young Master Lin’s name.”

Lin Qingyang was stunned, his face full of surprise.

“But it’s probably for the best. The registry has been submitted as evidence now. Each entry will be scrutinized during the investigation. If your name were there, wouldn’t your use of the addictive substance be exposed to the public?” Yue Chen analyzed.

Lin Qingyang, only now realizing the potential risk, thought it was good not to be discovered, but he also wanted to know who was behind this plot. While he had his suspicions, without a hundred percent certainty, he hesitated to take action.

Lin Qingyang suddenly felt something was off. “Why is mine the only one missing?”

Could there be another conspiracy within the conspiracy? Lin Qingyang felt overwhelmed; he was just a small pawn, and there seemed to be an excessive amount of plotlines revolving around him.

“There are only two possibilities. First, the person behind this is the mastermind themselves.”

Lin Qingyang shivered.

“Second, someone preemptively took your portion of the registry. Considering the limited number of people who had access to it before it reached us, the most likely culprit is…” Yue Chen began implying something without explicitly stating it.

Lin Qingyang naturally instantly understood his implication. In his heart, he already thought it was the second possibility.

Upon hearing this, Chu Lishu looked at Yue Chen. Although he didn’t show obvious anger, his dark eyes clearly carried a vigilant aura.

Yue Chen’s gaze shifted between Lin Qingyang and Chu Lishu for a moment. Yes, he was deliberately sowing discord, subtly suggesting to Lin Qingyang that Chu Lishu stole his list. There has been no communication between them until now; who knows what Chu Lishu might be plotting? Yue Chen wanted to see them quarrel, thinking that it might expose the truth of Chu Lishu’s involvement in the whole affair.

Clearly, Chu Lishu had already understood his true intentions, but Lin Qingyang seemed to have only considered the surface meaning, and Yue Chen was just waiting for Lin Qingyang to take the bait.

As a result, Lin Qingyang spoke up, “Well, forget about it then.”

Chu Lishu looked at Lin Qingyang, who smiled at him and said, “Anyway, I’ve successfully quit. If there’s any gain tonight, it’s good enough.”

Yue Chen felt a bit stifled. This guy wasn’t following the script at all.

In fact, Lin Qingyang’s thinking was straightforward. Since it was Chu Lishu’s doing, and Chu Lishu wasn’t willing to talk now, it must not be the right time. So, just wait.

Seeing Yue Chen looking dissatisfied, Lin Qingyang couldn’t understand what he was thinking. He said, “If Young Master Yue doesn’t mind, when those people confess, please inquire about my situation for me. Young Master Yue acting privately won’t easily expose me. Consider it the reward for tonight’s events.”

Yue Chen dryly chuckled and agreed, feeling a bit exasperated. It turned out that this little guy wasn’t that easy to deal with.

After a lot of effort, he still couldn’t extract any information. However, Yue Chen remained confident in his deductions. Since the other party didn’t want to reveal anything, he couldn’t force it. He was becoming increasingly interested in Chu Lishu. To set up so many things in such a short time and not gain any benefits, it was not something an ordinary person could achieve.

Chu Lishu’s actions reminded him of someone.

The carriage swayed and returned to the Secluded Courtyard Pavilion. Lin Qingyang was almost falling asleep.

After getting off the carriage, the four bid farewell. Yue Chen mentioned that he would inform them of the subsequent developments, but Chu Lishu and Lin Qingyang preferred not to get involved to avoid any tarnish on their reputation, especially since they wanted to focus on their studies at the academy. Yue Chen understood and assured them that he would handle it.

Once the two were alone, Chu Lishu went straight to the point, asking, “Do you have any suspects in mind for the person who harmed you?”

Lin Qingyang chuckled and, following typical plot twists, considered a few possibilities. “Madam Ru or Lin Qingxu? But…”

Chu Lishu understood what he meant. “You are concerned about the money, right?”

“According to the price Yue Chen mentioned for the Illusion Brain Incense on the list, it’s too expensive. I consider myself the wealthiest in the Marquis’s residence, and I can’t afford it even once. How could they, a mother and son, have so much money? Are they planning to bankrupt themselves to harm me? Wouldn’t my father discover it?” At this point, Lin Qingyang cautiously looked at Chu Lishu and continued, “Did you take away my name list? Were you afraid that an official investigation would tarnish my reputation?”

The two stood under the trees in front of the Secluded Courtyard Pavilion. Chu Lishu silently observed Lin Qingyang and asked, “Are you sure it’s me? When Yue Chen mentioned it earlier, why didn’t you speak up?”

“You didn’t say anything. There must be a reason. Why should I reveal it in front of others?”

Chu Lishu’s gaze flickered, “You just believe me like that? Aren’t you afraid that I might be the one behind harming you? Maybe I did it, following you just to ensure you don’t discover the truth. Removing your name list might be to conceal my wrongdoing.”

Lin Qingyang was stunned, “How is that possible?”

Chu Lishu raised an eyebrow, at least that’s what Yue Chen’s insinuations suggested.

Lin Qingyang couldn’t help but laugh, “This is too absurd; it can’t be you. I trust you.” Jokingly, if the male lead really wanted to kill him, why go through the trouble and expense? The special treatment with the addictive substance was reserved for those with status and positions, which was evident in the original plot.

Chu Lishu, seeing Lin Qingyang’s casual and sincere response, felt a softening in his heart. Fortunately, he hadn’t helped the wrong person.

“Prepare yourself mentally,” Chu Lishu said, taking out the paper hidden in his bosom. It contained not only the list but also the collateral for the substantial amount of money paid.

When Lin Qingyang opened the paper and saw the collateral, he was immediately stunned.

“It’s impossible!” Lin Qingyang exclaimed.

Chu Lishu said, “Indeed, it seems impossible, but it further proves that the culprit must be Madam Ru or Lin Qingxu.”

Lin Qingyang stared with wide eyes, unable to contain the anger in his heart. The name on the list turned out to be his own younger sister, Lin Qingwei. They really didn’t have that much money, and they had used Lin Qingwei’s fertile land as collateral to obtain the Illusion Brain Incense that harmed him.

Chu Lishu sneaked it out not only because he didn’t want Lin Qingyang’s reputation to be tarnished, but more importantly, submitting this evidence would be ironclad. Regardless of whether Lin Qingwei was innocent or not, imprisonment was inevitable, and her reputation would definitely be permanently ruined.

In just a few days, the eldest sister left, the second brother fell into addiction, and the younger sister became the culprit who spent money on addictive substances. If all these incidents were to be exposed together, the three siblings would drown in the spittle of the capital, never to stand firm again. Not to mention the reaction of their bedridden mother upon learning of these events.

So, Chu Lishu stole everything at its source and handed it over to Lin Qingyang, letting him deal with it himself.

Lin Qingyang understood the key points, knowing that Chu Lishu’s unexpected move not only saved him but also saved his loved ones.

Clutching the papers, Lin Qingyang looked at Chu Lishu, and his eyes were moved to the point of turning red.

“Don’t be angry. Although Lin Qingwei is spoiled, she wouldn’t genuinely harm you, so there’s no need to be angry.”

Lin Qingyang couldn’t find words to say; he just wanted to shake his head. The whole situation was so different from what he had imagined.

He thought that the male lead accompanying him to pursue the culprit was just a temporary act of kindness. When he heard about the mission, he unilaterally assumed that the male lead was definitely seeking the power of the addictive substance through this opportunity. When he was left alone in bed by the male lead, he truly believed that the male lead had gone to attend to his own affairs. He even took pleasure in the failure of the mission.

But now… because the male lead hasn’t completely turned dark, there’s still some humanity left. Perhaps, in the face of others’ helplessness, he can see through it and, within his capabilities, choose to lend a hand. It’s not just him; even Liu Wen’er, he also extended his hand to help.

“Cousin… is everything that Yue Chen just guessed true? Did you go to find the list and the solution to help Liu Wen’er? Because Liu Wen’er begged you, so you decided to intervene…”

Liu Wen’er, Liu Wen’er, why do I keep mentioning her? Talking about her makes my eyes even redder. What am I doing?

Being coquettish? Complaining? Feeling jealous?

It’s really troublesome.

“I’m just accumulating good karma. The addictive substance is not a good thing, and it should be eradicated. I have no other intentions… Also, at that time, it just happened that you weren’t feeling well, so you didn’t notice. Liu Wen’er just asked me to take a look at the tattoo on her back, explained the situation, and nothing more.”

Under Lin Qingyang’s red-eyed gaze, Chu Lishu’s head suddenly felt a bit out of control. He wasn’t sure what he was saying.

The next moment, a figure in front of him moved, and Chu Lishu, for the first time, reacted a half-beat slower and was embraced tightly.

Unlike the situation in the cabinet, this was an excited and joyful hug.

He explained a bit, and that’s all it took to make someone so happy.

Chu Lishu wore a strange expression, feeling extremely awkward.

Meanwhile, Lin Qingyang felt like he wanted to hug Chu Lishu and spin around in joy, but his body was weak, so he could only give him a tight hug.

All of this was really done by the male lead. If the male lead truly gives up the addictive substance, if he really changes, perhaps he won’t become the tyrant feared by everyone. In that case, the possibility of surviving becomes even greater.

After experiencing the suffering of addiction, hearing that the male lead would no longer harm others with the addictive substance brought a joy that was truly greater than the success of withdrawal.

Despite various troubles still looming, they couldn’t dampen Lin Qingyang’s happiness at this moment.

“Chu Lishu, you’re really great. You’re a good person, truly a wonderful person. I really love you to death!” Lin Qingyang couldn’t contain his joy, and his words spilled out when he was happy.

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