Chapter 361: A God in the Moon!
There was a special totem 9,000 meters up the Supreme Beginning Netherflight Pillar. It was a figure covering its face with its hands, seated on a moon. Not very many people knew about this totem, yet it wasn’t top secret. It was just that the totem represented something considered taboo, and therefore, the people who knew of it weren’t inclined to talk about it.
After taking control of the Supreme Beginning Netherflight Pillar, the swordsages had studied the totem and came to realize that it depicted one of the moons of the Revered Ancient mainland.
Revered Ancient was a massive place that didn’t just have a single moon. Nor did it have only a single sun. From ancient times until modern, the number of suns and moons had never been fixed. Generally, they had increased over time. In fact, when the broken face of the god arrived, there were thirty-seven suns and thirty-seven moons. They were scattered in different parts of Revered Ancient, and would all shine in the sky at the same time. What was more, every few thousand years, they would adjust their position to ensure that their light was more widely distributed.
Even still, the Revered Ancient mainland was so vast that many areas didn’t benefit from sunlight. There were some species who were used to living in darkness. At the same time, there were other species who never even saw darkness.
When the broken face of the god arrived, the suns and moons suffered heavy casualties. Right now, the Revered Ancient mainland only had seventeen suns left. There were fewer moons, with only twelve remaining.
The totem 9,000 meters up the Supreme Beginning Netherflight Pillar depicted one of those twelve surviving moons. Based on extensive research, it was determined that the totem formed after the death of a god domain cultivator. In other words, the moon in the carving obviously had some deep connections to that slain cultivator.
After making inquiries from the imperial capital, the Swordsage Court developed a theory that many species had come to believe in over the years. And that was... that the seventeen suns and twelve moons of Revered Ancient... had gods sleeping inside of them. It was a monumental matter. The countless species in existence didn’t have any hard evidence to prove the theory was true, only little bits of evidence here and there. As a result, it could only be considered speculation.
But there was one thing that the species had confirmed using a special method, and that was... god domains did have gods in them.
To the innumerable species on the Revered Ancient mainland, god domains were places full of mystery, the unknown, and... terror.
All high-level entities from various species knew where the god domains were. That was because they were fixed locations that never changed. However, it wasn’t easy to get inside of them. Even just getting close to them would cause one to tremble violently. And trying to force one’s way in would result in certain death.
For years on end, it was known that bizarre entities would occasionally emerge from god domains. However, they were extremely rare, to the point where they were only mentioned in passing in a few records here and there. In most cases, there was one word used to describe them: godchildren.
Given all that, it was no wonder that the swordsages paid a lot of attention to that one particular totem. Though it was only a manifestation of rancorous will, to the Swordsage Court, it was a potential source of immense gain. Unfortunately, the totem didn’t activate every time someone reached it.
Thankfully... today it did activate.
What was more, it released two streams of rancorous will, one into the Captain’s sea of consciousness, and the other into Xu Qing’s.
Xu Qing wasn’t sure what exactly was happening with the Captain. All he knew was that the soul shadow of a young man was forming in his sea of consciousness. He was blurry and indistinct, as if he might disappear at any moment. Yet it was still possible to make out the features of a handsome young man who seemed inherently luxurious. In fact, he seemed flawless to the point where he wasn’t real. He seemed... bewitching.
He was covered with countless red sealing marks, and on his forehead was a moon totem. After appearing in Xu Qing’s sea of consciousness, his face was completely expressionless and his eyes were empty. Looking up into heaven, he bowed deeply and began to speak in a language Xu Qing had never heard before, yet could instinctively understand.
“Milady, the shimmering moon; lead the way to Revered Ancient; all living beings suffer in bitterness; live in ease and comfort in paradise.”
As his words echoed out, the moon totem on his forehead glittered with red light. As it spread out, Xu Qing realized that he could see the image of a moon behind the young man.
A red moon.
As it floated in his sea of consciousness, it shone down, casting everything in crimson. At the same time, it emanated a boundless mutagen, which raged out to invade every corner of Xu Qing’s body. His mind spun.
He saw a figure on the moon, female, with long hair, her hands covering her face as she sat there unmoving. The moment Xu Qing laid eyes on her, an astonishing pressure erupted from the moon, causing his sea of consciousness to tremble, and shaking his soul. Everything turned blurry, while at the same time, the sound of vague, indistinct murmuring rose up. It was as if countless living beings were all speaking at the same time, creating an indescribable force that battered at Xu Qing’s soul.
Immense pressure built up as the surrounding mutagen grew stronger. From Xu Qing’s heavenly palaces to the depths of his soul. From his fleshly body to his spirit seas, to his dharma apertures. Mutagen filled everything.
It was as if he himself had become an entire world, and the moon was the broken face of the god. As that god’s eyes opened, all living things experienced the Awakening of Insects, as if their very foundation was being forced to change. 
At the same time, a powerful divine will shot out from the moon, pressing down on Xu Qing’s soul as if forcing him to surrender and offer obeisance.
“All respect to the Lady; thou shalt have everlasting life; come to the Lady’s god domain; thou shalt have paradise.”
The figure in Xu Qing’s sea of consciousness trembled as if in anguish. Clearly it wanted him to also submit to that divine will.
However, Xu Qing just laughed, killing intent building in his heart and mind.
“I don’t want everlasting life from anybody! As for god domains... the broken face of the god creates god domains by looking at them thrice. Therefore, if he looks three times at a person and they don’t die, then what? I really want to know! No, you don’t deserve to be in charge of me!” 
Eyes glittering, Xu Qing fought back with all the strength he had. The golden crow appeared in his sea of consciousness, letting loose its piercing cry and releasing blinding light. The Ghost Emperor mountain trembled as it released crushing pressure.
In response, the moon and the figure on it erupted with even stronger divine will, and also added even more mutagen to assail Xu Qing.
When Xu Qing felt that, he quietly added, “By the way, you have mutagen? Well... so do I!”
The taboo poison core in his third heavenly palace erupted with a boundless black cloud of poison that instantly filled his sea of consciousness and then headed right toward the moon! At the same time, Xu Qing’s mutagen seeped out into his sea of consciousness, more and more as it attacked the moon.
As a result, the sides of the moon started to change color. As darkness filled the red, it turned into something violet.
This matter was absolutely unprecedented!
In the years the Swordsage Court had studied that totem, things always played out as they had at first with Xu Qing. The soul shadow of the young man slain by the Ghost Emperor would appear. He had no mind of his own, nor many memories. All he had were some scraps of instinct. That instinct would automatically reveal the red moon, and then release something like the power of a god to crush anything and everything in his presence.
Of course, the godly power was illusory, and based on what the Swordsage Court could determine, it was actually a materialization of what few memories the young man retained.
It was as unrealistic as flowers in a mirror or the moon in the water, and couldn’t actually compare to the real power of a god. That was why experts from the Swordsage Court could suppress it. And when cultivators reached that point but failed, they wouldn’t suffer any ill consequences. The worst that would happen was that they would be weakened mentally. However, there was no danger of being possessed.
As for the mutagen, it could easily be extruded, so there was no real danger to one’s life. After all, it wasn’t very strong, and was illusory in nature.
But now things were going differently. Xu Qing’s mutagen was actually making a counter invasion!
Invasion was the main way mutagen manifested. For instance, when the broken face of the god arrived, the resulting aura invaded all living things. It didn’t matter if they were real or illusory, they were all invaded.
As for what happened when mutagen invaded mutagen, that wasn’t something that modern cultivators could even know about. Inside Xu Qing’s sea of consciousness, the red moon trembled. As it did, a sigh echoed out from within, like something from far in the distance, from far out in the void, from ancient time.
It was no spoken language, but rather, like a breath.
However, the moment it happened, rumbling sounds filled Xu Qing’s sea of consciousness. Within his body, explosive vibrations caused him to shake, and filled his soul with pain, as though it might collapse. His heavenly palaces were also trembling, and cracks started spreading out on them, as though they might fall to pieces. His sea of consciousness trembled, and his body shook. His organs started to fall apart. The Ghost Emperor mountain shook, and the golden crow let loose a piercing cry.
Because of all of that, as Xu Qing stood at the spot 9,000 meters up the Supreme Beginning Netherflight Pillar, blood erupted from his mouth. At the same time, blood sprayed out of his pores, creating a blood mist around him. Intense pain filled him, and the signs of collapse grew stronger in his sea of consciousness. His vision started to fade, and he couldn’t stay on his feet.
As everyone below looked on, he suddenly tumbled off the pillar.
Countless gasps rang out. Then, a blood-colored figure shot up toward him at top speed.
It was none other than Sir Bloodsmelter.
He caught Xu Qing, and then, his expression very serious, produced a golden medicinal pill that he put into his mouth. Before he could observe him to see the results, another agonized shriek rang out from the 9,000-meter spot on the pillar.
The Captain fell, blood spraying out of his mouth and blood mist appearing around him. More dramatic than that was the fact that his lower body, everything from his belly down, exploded. It almost seemed like he had eaten something that he shouldn’t have eaten.
Sir Bloodsmelter’s eyes narrowed as he reached out to catch the Captain with his other arm.
Xu Qing, after eating the golden medicinal pill, had already regained consciousness. He looked weak, and his sea of consciousness was damaged. But when he saw what was now in his sea of consciousness, his breath caught in his throat and his eyes started to shine.
It was a very, very small violet moon. Despite how small it was, it pulsed with hair-raising power, and was clearly in the process of maturing.
The Captain opened his eyes a moment later, and they burned with passion.
Meanwhile, a great distance away from Emperor-Receiving Prefecture, in the far west where humans rarely encroached, red light glittered in the night sky. No sun shone on those lands, and therefore, they were in perpetual night. Other than the broken face of the god in the sky, there was only one other thing: a red moon.
Bewitching moonlight glittered bright red, shining down onto lands... that were full of bones. They were scraped dry by the wind, and they filled the landscape as far as the eye could see. There were all sorts of species represented, heaped into piles. If you started digging down, it was hard to say how long it would take before you reached soil. No one knew how long ago these nonhumans had died. Maybe a thousand years in the past. Maybe longer ago than that. But before death, all had been covering their faces.
All of a sudden, a whisper rang out from the red moon in the sky.
“Two of my godly breaths vanished. I can replenish them. For years, that’s the way it’s been. I shouldn’t wake up just because of something like this, should I? Wait, hold on. Someone... stole some of my godsource? Who was it?”
Along with the voice came a surge of mutagen in the lands below, causing everything to twist and distort.
1. Don’t forget the first volume of the novel was called Awakening of Insects, and the effects of the broken face of the god were likened to that specific solar term. See 👈
2. In the narrative, gods (including the broken face) are almost always referred to with the divine pronoun, which I convey with that special diacritical mark (for instance hē, hīm, thēy, etc.). In this passage, Xu Qing does not use the divine pronoun. He almost certainly knows of its existence and how to use it, as the legend of the golden crow features that same divine pronoun (see 👈