The Buddhist chant was long and uninterrupted. Golden light appeared suddenly at the edge of the western sky.
A Buddha rode in from the west atop a magic cloud, his entire body radiant.
In front of him, a sutra materialized and blocked the oncoming lightning.
It shattered into pieces, completely obliterated.
Outside the mountain gate, the immortals stared in shock for a moment, then flew into the air to greet him. To their surprise, however, someone else arrived first.
The Great Strength Bodhisattva, Aryasura, landed before the Buddha and stood beside his lotus throne.
“Buddha, Great Strength Bodhisattva.
The immortals arrived hot on his heels. The Buddha glanced at them emotionlessly. The corners of his lips twitched upwards in an attempted smile and he released a single nasal grunt; this could be considered greeting them.
Meanwhile, Su Liu’er had been standing in the clouds waiting for the electricity to swallow her up. She opened her eyes.
The heavenly lightning had vanished.
She turned in the direction the “Amitabha" had come from moments before.
Without any hesitation, red-eyed empress Su Liu’er flew towards him. When she was approximately one hundred meters away, she stopped and knelt in the air.
“Heart demons have invaded your mind, yet you remain in control. Your willpower is exceptional."
Still sitting on his lotus throne, he nodded calmly at her.
She didn’t hesitate at all and soon landed before his throne.
The Buddha reached out his hand and tapped her head. Instantly, her mind cleared, and the heart demon vanished completely.
“Although your willpower is exceptional, a heart demon is still a heart demon. For now, you can use reason to suppress it, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do so in the future. It’s best to avoid using this sort of power going forward.”
“Thank you so much for your help, but I still have something I’d like to ask of you.”
“Say no more, I came here precisely to do what you're about to ask.”
He calmly waved his hands, then rode his lotus throne down to where Ye Zichen and Su Yan had been swallowed by the heavenly lightning.
“What do we do? Father, a Buddha has arrived."
Xiao Yan, seeing this scene reflected in the lightning pool, gasped involuntarily. The elder by his side squinted, sharp glint flashing through his turbid eyes. Given how long he'd lived, Xiao Ting had a vast breadth of his experience.
“It’s really Amitabha of Western Buddhist Domain," he said, eyes flashing like a wily old fox. "And here I thought they’d send Shakyamuni from the Central World of Endurance. He’s even got the Great Strength Bodhisattva following him. This bald donkey’s arrival is bad news."
As he spoke, Xiao Ting knit his brows, his tone solemn.
“Father, in that case, should we really keep sending lightning? We snuffed out that son of fortune, so I think there’s no need to keep going. It’ll only provoke that Buddha,” said Xiao Yan.
“How could I have had such a good-for-nothing son?” said Xiao Ting, eyes glinting fiercely. “If you weren’t my only son, the position of clan head would never have fallen onto your shoulders. You're overcautious, indecisive, and afraid to die. You're barely even a shadow of my younger self."
“Your son understands his mistakes."
"Mistake after mistake after mistake, all you've done these past hundred thousand years is 'understand your mistakes,' but have you ever actually fixed any of them?"
Xian Ting glared at his only son as if furious that iron couldn't suddenly become steel.
"Our Xiao Family controls tribulation lightning throughout the Six Realms and is under the Jurisdiction of the God Realm's Central Ministry of Justice," he said. "We punish the people's sins and reward their good deeds with auspicious omens. Put simply, we control the fate of countless worlds. Everyone has to show us courtesy, no matter who they are. The head of our family must be capable and courageous, but have I seen even the barest trace of either trait in you?"
"Your son understands."
Xiao Yan replied somewhat timidly; he was deeply afraid of his father.
"Then, Father, should we send more lightning or not?
Xiao Ting raised a hand as if to slap him, then set it down helplessly. This son of mine....
"Of course we're sending more lightning! Just now, that nine-tailed fox publicly opposed the heavens, defying the authority of the entire God Realm. More importantly, she challenged our Xiao Family's dignity. If we don't punish even this sort of person, then how will stand before the people of the God Realm? What face will we have left?'
"But the Buddha of the Western Buddhist Domain is there too!"
"What about it?" Xiao Ting's gaze was contemptuous. "One hundred thousand years ago, I fought with that bald donkey. There was no clear winner. Everyone says the Buddha is supremely virtuous and that he took to cultivation like a fish to water, without any bottlenecks at all. I'd like to see how much he's grown since we last fought. I wonder, has he taken the next step? The one I've failed to take in a hundred thousand years?"
With that, Xiao Ting pushed Xiao Yan, who'd been managing the lightning, out of his way.
"Let me take care of this myself. You stand aside and watch."
"Your son obeys."
The Buddha landed on the back mountain and gazed into the sky. His expression was mournful, as if he were lamenting the state of the world and fate of mankind.
"How tragic," he said, shaking his head.
He tightly shut his eyes, then clasped his hands together.
Lips fluttering rapidly, sutra after sutra flowed from his mouth and towards the people of Beast Region.
An offering for lost souls.
Too many innocent people died had when the Zombie Progenitors attacked the beast region, resulting in lingering resentment. Ordinary people couldn't detect it, but living while surrounded by it would negatively influence your mental state.
The area lit up.
As he spoke his last line of scripture, the Beast Region's lingering resentment and death energy completely vanished.
This affected Su Liu'er and the others most directly. The moment he finished chanting, their entire bodies felt lighter, and even their mood improved somewhat.
They hadn't even realized their emotions were suppressed.
Suddenly, yet another crack of thunder resounded through the sky.
It surged through the sky so intensely that the immortals below all felt it somewhat difficult to breathe.
"Move back," said the Buddha, glancing at the Great Strength Bodhisattva, who'd been about to go block the lightning on his behalf. In response, the Bodhisattva immediately retreated outside the lightning's range.
The heavenly lightning came crashing down.
Despite the oncoming lightning, the Buddha simply slammed his hands together.
"Jade Glass Body!"
The lightning pool reflected the scene of the Buddha combatting the electricity. After the lightning struck, his body had grown even more brilliantly lustrous.
Seeing this, Xiao Ting shouted despite himself. The Jade Glass Body.......
He'd truly reached that stage.
He thought back to ancient times. He'd been born a supreme, and became a Diviner in only half a year.
His talent was absolutely astonishing; he'd drawn attention from all over creation. And yet, despite how dazzling he was, he was still stuck at the threshold of ruler.
After a million years of cultivation, he'd become a half-step ruler, but half-step was still just a half-step.
"Hmph, I don't believe it!"
He'd struggled at that same threshold from birth through old age. He couldn't believe that this baldy had truly crossed it despite being only a few hundred thousand years old.
Another bolt fell. This time, it was purple.
This was the most destructively powerful type of heavenly lightning.
The onlooking immortals trembled despite themselves. From the moment this bolt of heavenly lightning appeared, they'd sensed enough power in it to destroy all of creation.
They'd even thought, if this lightning falls....
The Beast Region, and even the entire Three Realms couldn't possibly survive.
But despite its strength, before the lightning landed, it vanished.
"Amitabha," said the Buddha, turning his head to see a woman in a plain skirt approach, walking slowly through the sky.
Upon arriving, these were the first words out of her mouth:
"Xiao Ting, admit your crimes!"