I Rely on the Collapse of the Character Setting to Survive in the Hands of the Male Lead Chapter 46

Chapter 46

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When they arrived at Marquis An Nan’s residence that evening, Nanny Ding personally accompanied Lin Qinglan. Lin Qingyang carefully examined his eldest sister’s complexion, which, although melancholic, wasn’t too bad.

The children from the second and third courtyards politely greeted her. Lin Qingxu and Lin Qingyao also stepped forward to pay their respects. Only Lin Qingwei still wore an unhappy expression. She approached and said, “Eldest sister is living comfortably at home, while I’ve been suffering grievances at the academy.”

Lin Qinglan, who had always favored her, naturally understood her temperament. However, she didn’t argue with her. Instead, Nanny Ding stepped forward and said, “Fourth Young Lady, your words are not appropriate. Eldest Young Lady has endured much for the sake of this marriage. Please refrain from making baseless remarks.”

The younger ones had always been a bit wary of Nanny Ding. Lin Qingwei, seeing her protective stance toward her eldest sister, didn’t dare to retort further and sulkily walked in on her own.

“Eldest sister.”

“Eldest cousin.”

Lin Qinglan finally revealed a relieved smile. “You’ve had a hard journey. Dinner is already prepared, we’re just waiting for you.”

“Is anyone causing trouble for Eldest Sister at home?” Lin Qingyang asked as he approached.

Lin Qinglan smiled and said, “Everything that needed to be explained has been clarified. Now, in my current state, there’s nothing to be troubled about.”

Lin Qingyang didn’t believe Lin Qinglan’s words and turned to look at Nanny Ding directly.

Nanny Ding spoke directly, “Several great uncles from the Lin family have arrived.”

Lin Qingyang’s expression changed. “Did they mention Eldest Sister?”

“No… they just arrived not long ago. Eldest Young Lady only paid her respects and then went back to accompany the County Princess. This servant only observed that the elders didn’t look pleased.” Nanny Ding reported as if she had already become accustomed to treating Lin Qingyang as the decision-maker.

Based on the memory, Marquis An Nan’s residence is considered the head of the Lin family. However, in this generation, only their branch has a substantial population. Other branches have mostly dwindled. They came when Eldest Sister got married, and at that time, they opposed Eldest Sister marrying into the Ying family. After all, at that time, Eldest Sister had a high chance of becoming the Crown Princess. Now, with the divorce of Eldest Sister and the Ying family happening again, it feels like it might not be a good thing.

As they were about to follow everyone to the main hall, they were stopped by a pull from behind by Chu Lishu.

Lin Qingyang looked at him in confusion, and then Chu Lishu leaned in to remind him, “Those great uncles have been in close contact with Madam Ru for the past year or two.”

Lin Qingyang was surprised and then gratefully smiled at Chu Lishu.

The male lead, playing the role of Chu Lishu, had undoubtedly conducted a detailed investigation of Marquis An Nan’s residence before his arrival. Now, disregarding the risk of exposing himself, he shared the acquired intelligence with Lin Qingyang.

The feeling of being protected by the big boss was truly comforting.

Indeed, it was crucial intelligence.

Prepared mentally, Lin Qingyang entered the main hall, along with numerous younger siblings, to pay respects.

As he looked up, he saw three elderly figures with white hair, and stern expressions from beginning to end, seated beside Marquis An Nan, exuding an aura of authority.

Marquis An Nan invited everyone to the table, preparing for the evening meal. Before the formal dinner, there were naturally warm greetings among family members.

Several great uncles inquired about the children’s studies, particularly praising Lin Qingxu and Chu Lishu. Lin Qingxu was the hope of this generation, a consensus developed among them in recent years. Although Chu Lishu now bore the surname Chu, his affiliation with Marquis An Nan’s residence promised a bright future, which would be beneficial to the Lin family. In the future, marrying into the Lin family through a Lin family woman would be equivalent to a union by marriage. Therefore, the three great-uncles paid special attention to both of them.

Afterward, they began criticizing and educating Lin Qingyang. As the eldest son, even if not exceptionally outstanding, he should not perform too poorly, as it would bring shame to the Lin family.

“Yang’er, as the elder brother, should set an example for your younger siblings. Study well and don’t engage in mischief all day long,” they advised.

It seems that the original body’s reputation for mischief is quite resounding.

Lin Qingyang smiled gently and responded, “Thank you for your guidance, three great uncles.”

However, a younger cousin, probably wanting to impress the elders, didn’t quite grasp the situation and interjected, “Actually, Second Cousin has been performing very well lately. The teachers have been praising him, saying that he is the fastest progressing disciple they have seen. They also praised the children of Marquis An Nan’s residence, stating that as long as they are willing to learn, they can excel.”

As soon as this statement was made, members of the third courtyard quickly pulled their children aside and gave them a stern warning.

Marquis An Nan was pleased and asked, “Has Yang’er made progress in these days?”

“Not much of an improvement, I was just used to being playful and now I’m focusing on studying,” Lin Qingyang said, making it sound like he wasn’t really foolish before but simply lacked diligence.

“Not much improvement at all,” Lin Qingwei muttered under her breath.

Unable to resist, Lin Qinglan subtly signaled Lin Qingwei with her eyes and said, “When I visited the academy last time, I heard the head master praise Yang’er. He mentioned that Yang’er has been studying diligently recently and learning things quickly.”

With Lin Qinglan’s words, everyone naturally believed it to some extent, although some still found it hard to believe that Lin Qingyang would suddenly change.

Especially Madam Ru, who couldn’t help but sneak a glance at her son. Seeing his displeased expression, she realized that this ignorant and incompetent fool had indeed changed to some extent. This wasn’t particularly good news in her eyes.

Madam Ru didn’t show any expression on her face, she just smiled and said, “That’s really good. Earlier, I told Xu’er to not just focus on his own studies while at the academy but to spend more time helping his elder brother improve. Now it seems I worried for nothing.”

Everyone already had an idea of the situation; with the need for his younger brother’s assistance in studying, any progress Lin Qingyang made wouldn’t reach the level of top students. The words praising Lin Qingyang were merely words of comfort.

“Second Brother doesn’t need help from Third Brother; he has his talented cousin to assist him. With the help of our cousin, Second Brother can naturally progress,” suddenly Lin Qingyao, with an innocent expression, spoke up, as if jealous that their cousin was helping Lin Qingyang.

With these words, leaving aside the others, both Lishi and Marquis An Nan’s expressions changed. Although the sudden search with people last time didn’t reveal any problems, it had planted a seed of doubt in their hearts. Over these days, Madam Ru occasionally mentioned it, subtly influencing them. They were still suspicious of Lin Qingyang’s intentions.

As for what might happen at the academy, beyond their control, it was something they dared not imagine. Lishi, who had already been angered by Lin Qinglan’s divorce, now felt uncomfortable seeing this group. Just thinking about the possibilities made her signal for Chu Lishu to come over, appearing as if she was going to make a decision, and asked, “Child, are you helping your second cousin with his studies? It hasn’t caused you any trouble, has it? If you’ve suffered any grievances, speak up; your grandmother will take care of it for you.”

Lin Qingwei, seeing this, couldn’t wait to complain, “When we are in class, as soon as Second Brother has any free time, he’s always bothering Cousin. When he returns to the courtyard, I don’t know how he’s been distracting Cousin from his studies. Last time, during a break, he played with Cousin and even fell into the water on a cold winter day. He ended up with a severe cold for several days.”

After Lin Qingwei finished speaking, she warned Lin Qingyang with a glance. Her Second Brother was really out of line. She couldn’t effectively address his inappropriate behavior, so she had to make the elders aware of the problem and have them intervene to prevent Second Brother from doing something disgraceful. She couldn’t afford to lose face again at the academy.

Lin Qingwei’s words prompted Marquis An Nan to frown and question Lin Qingxu, “Xu’er, is it true that your Second Brother bothers Lishu every day? Even during your free time in the courtyard does it affect his studies?”

“Father, I’m right here. You can ask me directly,” Lin Qingyang couldn’t help but speak up.

Lin Qingxu looked around and realized that his mood had been affected by the recent cases outside, which had drained his fighting spirit. Now that the gun had been placed in his hands, he couldn’t remain silent. He said, “I often see Second Brother going to Cousin’s courtyard for late-night discussions. Since the young master from the same courtyard as Cousin, Young Master Xu, has been away for some time due to personal matters, Second Brother often stays until the lamps are extinguished before returning to his own courtyard.”

Marquis An Nan’s face gradually turned grim.

“We can’t let you fool around like this when Cousin, who has the talent to be the top scholar, is accompanying you.” Lishi immediately became anxious.

Although neither of them explicitly mentioned the issue, it was evident that they were becoming concerned about whether Lin Qingyang was making unwarranted advances toward Chu Lishu in places they couldn’t see. With Chu Lishu standing under the eaves and forced into various situations, they dared not imagine what would happen if this were discovered at the academy. It would truly be a disgrace spreading throughout the entire capital. How could Marquis An Nan’s residence maintain any dignity in the capital in the future?

Lin Qingyang’s face felt numb. Did these people have to be so gossip-prone, constantly speculating about his relationship with the male lead? Who could understand the efforts he had put into staying alive, fearing that he couldn’t meet the daily check-in requirements and dreading crossing the line and causing the male lead’s displeasure? Every step was like walking on thin ice.

In such difficult circumstances, why did they have to make things more complicated?

“How so? Since I want to study hard, naturally, I’ll learn from the best. Would I be foolish enough to settle for someone mediocre? I’m not so stupid as to choose a closer but less competent option,” Lin Qingyang sarcastically remarked. “I want to study, and cousin is willing to help. This is a good thing for siblings and friends. Why should it be criticized?”

However, Lishi was infuriated and said, “I won’t listen to you. You’ve now learned to argue forcefully. Chu Lishu, tell me, if he doesn’t study well and disturbs you, I’ll immediately stop him from going to the academy.”

Lishi’s words were like a sudden thunderclap on a clear day. Lin Qingyang, who was perfectly fine a moment ago, now felt like a bomb had been dropped, gaining a new understanding of Lishi’s biased tendencies. Most families wouldn’t think of causing trouble for the legitimate son for the sake of a cousin.

“Mother, this really can’t be done…” Madam Ru hypocritically advised on the side.

The three clan great uncles were unclear about the situation but also felt it was inappropriate.

Marquis An Nan remained silent. In fact, he and his mother were thinking along the same lines, but such a decision was ultimately absurd, and there was no way to explain it if it were revealed.

Lin Qingwei was afraid, holding Lin Qinglan’s hand. She just wanted her second brother to study well and didn’t want things to escalate like this.

Lin Qinglan also showed a worried expression. “Grandmother, Yang’er has indeed made progress, and Cousin Chu Lishu hasn’t been delayed in his studies either. It’s good for everyone to progress together. Doing this…”

“What’s wrong with me doing this? You siblings only know how to protect each other. Each one of you has caused trouble!”

Lin Qinglan’s expression instantly turned unpleasant.

Lishi brought out the grandmother’s authority. Her actions were also for the future of Marquis An Nan’s residence, to avoid any embarrassing incidents. Lin Qingyang was indeed an unstable factor for the family. Perhaps she should have made this decision earlier. Look at this, Lin Qinglan brought this matter out, and now they were being talked about everywhere. In front of her sisters, it was simply losing face.

In Lishi’s view, Lin Qingyang used to often bully Chu Lishu. She had punished Lin Qingyang several times, resulting in him becoming even more ruthless. So, in her eyes, the current close relationship between Lin Qingyang and Chu Lishu must be forced by Lin Qingyang. Chu Lishu must be compromising himself for a stable life, as he was not the type to complain. Now given the opportunity, he would surely express his grievances.

“Shu’er, speak up. Don’t be afraid. Your grandmother is your closest person now. She will definitely stand up for you! These three great uncles have watched your mother grow up. Your eldest uncle won’t favor Yang’er. Just say it.” Lishi supported Chu Lishu while glaring at Lin Qingyang.

Everyone’s hearts were tense, but Lin Qingyang nonchalantly curled the corners of his mouth, confident that the male lead would handle the situation.

Just as they were thinking about it, Chu Lishu hesitantly spoke with a light and crisp teenage voice, “Well… Grandmother, you are mistaken. Though we are cousins, we are also brothers. Helping each other is only natural. How can you say it’s interference? I am just… doing what I can to repay the care the Marquis’s residence has given me. Being able to assist Second Cousin is also my honor.”

“Isn’t this forcing you?” Lishi immediately spoke with a righteous tone.

People around them could sense from Chu Lishu’s reluctant tone that he was not happy about it, but due to the face of the Marquis’s residence, he had no choice. In reality, everything depended on the Marquis’s mood.

Lin Qingyang’s forced smile faded away. Where was the brotherly bond they agreed on? Why was the male lead undermining him behind his back? Wasn’t he supposed to praise how good their relationship was and how wonderful it was to study together?

Lin Qingyang felt hurt, but he could only try to see the positive side. At least this explanation didn’t reach the level of oppression or even something more sinister.

Lin Qingyang looked at Chu Lishu with some resentment, but Chu Lishu, with an emotionless glance, continued, “It’s not really forcing. The teaching process helps me review and consolidate my knowledge. Besides… Second Cousin went out of his way to change my courtyard in gratitude, allowing me to share a courtyard with the talented scholar Xu Wenze, which is quite beneficial for my studies.”

Chu Lishu initially portrayed a reluctant and unwilling attitude to help, suggesting that he was coerced into it. However, he quickly added that despite being coerced, he also gained some benefits, presenting the situation as a mutual exchange. This narrative made it seem like a struggling student bribing a high-achieving student for assistance with supplementary lessons.

This serious demeanor and the reasonable details suddenly aligned perfectly with the best assumptions everyone present had speculated about.

An arrogant legitimate son couldn’t suddenly show humility and respect without some form of coercion or enticement. On the other hand, a poor relative seeking refuge, even if they suffered a bit of a setback, could endure it as long as they weren’t excessively oppressed. The behavior of Lin Qingyang and Chu Lishu fell entirely within the normal range, and now the Marquis felt somewhat reassured, thinking that perhaps Lin Qingyang genuinely wanted to improve his studies.

Lishi remained skeptical and asked again, “Is it true?”

Chu Lishu appeared genuinely puzzled and responded, “Yes, it is. The head master asked me before, wondering if my company was the reason for my cousin’s rapid progress in studies. I told him that the head master praised us for mutually progressing well and considered it an exemplary relationship among classmates.”

As Chu Lishu spoke, the expressions of some people present changed a few times.

So, does this mean that the head master truly thinks Lin Qingyang has improved?

And does he also approve of Chu Lishu helping Lin Qingyang with his studies?

If it wasn’t beneficial for both, the scholarly head master would likely disapprove of someone interfering with the promising future of a good student.


The expressions of the crowd eased, except for Lin Qingyang, who seemed a bit dispirited. The psychological gap was significant. He had thought that Chu Lishu would stand by his side, displaying a sense of unity as fellow countrymen. However, it turned out to be a lonely and somewhat shameful feeling of self-inflicted delusion.

Seeing Lin Qingyang’s unhappy expression, others thought that the recent incident had hurt his feelings. Since Lishi would not back down, and Marquis An Nan praised Lin Qingyang, the others joined in, praising Lin Qingyang’s significant progress and encouraging him to continue.

Lin Qingyang responded with a lackluster acknowledgment.

Chu Lishu, on the other hand, walked back to his seat as if nothing had happened, but his eyes coldly swept over Lin Qingxu, who was barely holding back his frustration.

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