The immortals below the platform watched the seated major powers, eyes brimming over with enthusiasm.
A declaration of war!
War God Yang had formally challenged Ksitigarbha.
The two of them represented the Underworld and the Heavenly Court, two peak-level powers. If they fought, it wouldn’t just be a simple martial arts competition; both realms’ reputations were on the line.
Although the relationship between the Three Realms had warmed somewhat, a few years of friendship wasn’t enough to overwrite a thousand years of enmity.
The immortals started cheering for their own side. As for those of the Immortal Region, they urged the two on even more enthusiastically.
Clearly, they were in it for the excitement and weren’t worried about the long-term consequences in the slightest.
Yang Jian squinted, his lips twisting into a dastardly grin. He leaned into his chair with complete confidence and sneered at Ksitigarbha as the immortals cheered.
Finally, he reached out his left hand and gestured, "come here."
"How about it? Want to give this show its opening act? And don't say I'm bullying you; I'll even let you bring your mount into battle. What do you think? Even if a divine beast lost its spiritual power, it's physical strength far surpasses a mere mortal. I'm being awfully generous, aren't I?"
With that, he raised his arms like a showman to liven up the atmosphere. The onlookers were swept up in the moment and started urging him out.
"War God Yang, well done!"
Yang Jian basked in their cheers, then smiled provocatively at Ksitigarbha.
"I'll wait for you on stage."
His right hand pushed off against the arms of the chair and he leaped high into the air.
He'd rehearsed this movement countless times in his head. He wanted to put pressure on his opponent before their match. Soon, he'd land smoothly and summon his lance.
However, people absolutely didn't say "reality often fails to live up to expectations" for nothing.
At first, everything went exactly as planned, but the moment he leaped into the air he suddenly felt his body grow thousands of kilos heavier.
When he was just two meters into the air, he crashed into the ground, limbs splayed, as if he'd been the victim of some sort of magic trick.
Everyone was in an uproar.
In particular, the immortals from the Underworld exploded into laughter.
"Some 'God of War' you are. You look like a dead dog."
"And you want to challenge our Bodhisattva? Why should he pay any attention to you?"
The crowd booed, but the seated major powers looked at Jang Jian suspiciously. He was just lying there, completely motionless.
Out of consideration for his face, the other major powers hadn't said anything yet. They'd planned to wait for him to stand up, then laugh and pretend it was a joke to give him an easy out.
However, he wasn't getting up.
The emperor frowned, then couldn't help but send him a transmission, "Yang Jiang, haven't you lost enough face yet? What, you want to lose even more? Hurry and stand up. What an embarrassment!"
Before long, he received Yang Jian's pained reply. "Do you really think I wanted this? I can't move a single muscle."
In response, the North Pole Emperor walked up to him, then took his arm and tried to help him up.
He didn't move an inch.
He frowned, then tried again, but achieved nothing.
The other immortals noticed something was off and started to ask, "North Pole Emperor, is War God Yang...."
The North Pole Emperor rose, then frowned at Yang Jian. "It's as if his body weighs several thousand tons. He can't move at all."
Before he'd even finished his sentence, Yang Jian coughed up a mouthful of heart's blood.
"That's not good," said the Flame Emperor seriously. "Right now, we all only have our mortal bodies. We can't support that much weight; his organs won't be able to take it."
Blood leaked out of Yang Jian's mouth in a non-stop stream. Soon, it started leaking from his ears and nose as well.
The booing came to a rapid stop as the immortals realized something was wrong. The major powers knit their brows, then glanced up at Ye Zichen, who sat in the highest seat.
With their spiritual powers sealed, he was the only one who could have possibly done this to Yang Jian.
"Your Excellency, please have mercy on him."
The North Pole was the first to bow towards Ye Zichen and plead on Yang Jian's behalf. He was the leader of the Heavenly Court and Yang Jian was his War God. He absolutely didn't want to see anything happen to him.
"Yang Jian can be stubborn and arrogant but he means no harm. If he offended you in any way, I beg you, please forgive him."
The other immortals soon followed suit. "Your Excellency, please have mercy."
Even those from the Buddhist Domain, who Yang Jian had just provoked, pled for mercy on his behalf.
Meanwhile, within Ye Zichen's sea of consciousness.
"Don't you dare hurt Yang Jian. He's my bro for life. If anything happens to him, you'd better believe..."
Ye Zichen's spiritual body was tied to a pillar. He glared furiously at a black-robed man standing in front of him, his every word threatening.
"I'd better believe what?" wondered the black-robed man. Then he tapped the space behind him and a chair instantly appeared.
The chair was constructed and decoration exactly like the one Ye Zichen's body was sitting on in the outside world. The robed man sat and crossed his legs, seemingly smiling beneath his hat.
He didn't seem intimidated in the slightest; Ye Zichen found himself at a loss for words.
It was true: what could he do right now? The man had stripped away his connection with his physical body and had even imprisoned his spiritual self.
Even so, Yang Jian was his brother for life. How could he possibly just watch as....
Ye Zichen took a deep breath, then laughed coldly, "for you to appear within my consciousness suggests that you're a spiritual body as well. If I self-destruct, won't you disappear along with me?"
"Do you dare?"
"What do you think?"
With that, Ye Zichen's spiritual body expanded violently. Seeing this, the black-robed man's eyes widened. He hurriedly reached out and, with a wave of his right hand, suppressed Ye Zichen's imminent explosion.
"I'm scared now, I suppose," said the robed man. He shook his head helplessly, then snapped his fingers. The ropes binding Ye Zichen vanished immediately.
"I was just joking with you," said the man. "Why did you have to take it so seriously?"
"Joking?" snorted Ye Zichen. "I don't think that joke was especially funny. Now hurry up and let Jang Jian go. Otherwise.... I won't give you a second chance."
As he spoke, Ye Zichen readied his spiritual energy. So long as he willed it....
His consciousness would disappear in an instant, and with it, the black-robed man.
This was just a threat, yet this time, contempt flashed across the black-robed man's face as he laughed in disappointment.
"You're the Son of Destiny, the man who illuminated the North Star. How could you self-destruct just like that? What, do you think your life is cheap? Do you know how many lives are connected to yours? Have you considered what would happen to your Fated Stars and Auxiliary Stars if you blew yourself up?
He took a deep breath, then let out a disappointed sigh.
“Ye Zichen, you’ve truly disappointed me.”