Minghe once again visited the Zixiao Palace with the seven Sages after 300 years had passed. The deadline had come for them to confirm those who would be included in the Investiture of the Gods. The minute they entered the palace, they saw the Investiture suspended mid-air in the same place it was in 300 years ago. It gleamed like a treasure worth coveting but was, in fact, something troublesome. This truly depressed some of the Sages.
Once they were all seated, Laozi was the first to speak. "With 300 years passed, it's now time for us to decide the names for the Investiture of the Gods. If you have any suggestions, just speak out. I'm sure teacher has his own issues to solve, so we shouldn't interrupt him for long."
"This has nothing to do with me, but I'm here to join in the fun. Please don't mind and continue," Minghe chimed in. Join in the fun? Perhaps he was the only one who would make his position so clearly, without any concern about the Sages at all.
Goddess Nyuwa said, "I may have the heart to help but not the ability to do so considering that I don't have any disciples. You should continue without me." Since she didn't establish a religion or take in any disciples, she had no business with the ceremony either.
Pingxin, Houtu's Evil Separation, also claimed that the Wu Tribe had nothing to do with this ceremony. It was obvious that they planned to watch from the sidelines and this upset the rest of the Sages. There wasn't much they could say about Goddess Nyuwa and Houtu, but Minghe was different. With his great power and influence, it was odd that he would remove himself from this ceremony.
Minghe smiled when he saw the expressions of the Sages. How could he say that they had been in his trap ever since the era of the Three Royals and Five Emperors? Why would he have so easily given up the final six positions if they didn't involve the killing calamity? Even so, he didn't particularly target any religion.
The whole palace fell into silence. Seeing that Honoured Lord of the Origin, Sect Leader Tongtian, Jieyin, and Zhunti didn't say a word, Laozi said, "The deadline given by teacher is here. We should decide on the nominees of the Investiture of the Gods immediately. We can't bear the responsibility if teacher blames us for the delay."
When he saw that the rest were still quiet, he bit the bullet and put a name in the Investiture. Everyone was shocked to see that it belonged to his Good Separation, the Highest Elder Lord. This time, Laozi had truly hardened his heart.
With a calm expression, he said, "The Clan of Humanity has few disciples. The only inner disciple is Xuandu who will inherit my Taoism lineage, so I can't put his name on the list. I don't have any other choice but put the name of my Good Separation instead. What do you all think?"
Honored Lord of the Origin didn't say much and steeled his resolve to write more names in the Investiture. What more could he say now that Laozi had submitted the name of his Good Separation? He could only write more names to make up the numbers.
He turned to Tongtian after he was done. Noticing everyone's eyes on him, Tongtian waved his hands and more than 20 names appeared on the list. The focus finally fell on Zhunti and Jieyin, hoping they would put in more names.
Jieyin looked pained and melancholic. A worried Zhunti said, "We have too few disciples in the Western Religious Sect to put in any more names in the Investiture. Tongtian, you have so many more disciples compared to us. You should put in more names so we can complete the list and hold the God Deification Ceremony as soon as possible so we don't delay teacher's plan."
That angered Tongtian but he managed to control his temper and said coldly, "Zhunti, you've always come to the East and sent many disciples back to your West. How can you say you have few disciples? I've submitted the names of more than 60 disciples of the Clan of Severity without reservation. Now it's your turn."
A saddened Jieyin slowly wrote a few more names on the list as if she had lost her most precious treasure. It did elicit some sympathy from those watching her, but everyone knew she had always acted this way. It wasn't anything new.
Laozi checked the Investiture of the Gods and saw that they were far from the required 365 names. If this went on, they would never get anywhere. He had no choice but to speak loudly, "Since now no one is willing to submit more names, then let's do it this way. We'll let the tribulation run its course and each sect will try to survive it based on their ability. Whatever name that enters the list will be up to fate."
Tongtian was the first to agree."That's the best way. Everything is up to God's will in the tribulation." He feared no sects for the Clan of Severity was so powerful and his disciples not weaker than others. In a fight, there was no telling who would win.
Honored Lord of the Origin, Jieyin, and Zhunti also agreed with the suggestion one by one. Laozi then bowed to the holy dais and said, "Teacher, our discussion is over. Please show us your real entity."
A dim figure gradually appeared in the dais before finally transformed into a real entity. It was Honourable Ancestor Hongjun. "Teacher, we've decided to leave it to our Fated Chance. It'll be up to fate who will become a member of the Investiture of the Gods. What do you think?"
Hongjun glanced at the Sages and said placidly, "Then that's decided. It's fine as long as you don't delay the God Deification Ceremony. You all shouldn't regret when the list is settled." The Sages agreed, having finally reached a consensus. The issue of the God Deification Ceremony was considered dealt with.
Something suddenly occurred to Honoured Lord of the Origin and asked, "Teacher, the God Deification Ceremony isn't a trivial matter. Which sect will hold the ceremony? Or will it be held by a cultivator? Can you tell us who'll conduct the ceremony in the future?" This excited the Sages and they turned to Hongjun at once, waiting for an answer. Something suddenly occurred to Honoured Lord of the Origin and asked, "Teacher, the God Deification Ceremony isn't a trivial matter. Which sect will hold the ceremony? Or will it be held by a cultivator? Can you tell us who'll conduct the ceremony in the future?" This excited the Sages and they turned to Hongjun at once, waiting for an answer.
Hongjun fixed his gaze on them and said calmly, "This ceremony is destined to remove the Cultivation Tribulation of Heaven and Earth and end the calamity of Immortals and Gods. There'll be a holy man to handle the Gods-hitting Whip and the Investiture of the Gods. He'll also be in charge of the ceremony." With these words, a long whip suddenly appeared in his hands. It was a Primordial Spiritual Treasure, the same level as the Investiture of the Gods.
Desire rouse in the hearts of the Sages. If the holy man originated from their clans, that would put the control of the God Deification process in their hands. When that happened, they would also gain an edge in the Battle of Gods Investiture. This would give their disciples better positions in the Investiture.
Honored Lord of the Origin immediately asked, representing the other Sages, "Teacher, who's the man? Please tell us his name." The others looked at Hongjun and waited.
Hongjun said coldly, "That's a secret of the heaven. I don't know who will it be, only that he'll be a man with singular features with an Auspicious Mark of Winged Tiger on his back. He's an ordinary man who eventually enters one of your clans. When the ceremony begins, the Investiture of the Gods and the Gods-hitting Whip will fly into the clan he chooses. With the ceremony decided, you can leave now."
Hongjun disappeared right away after he was done talking. The Sages returned to their own Ashrams and began recruiting disciples. They all wanted to get hold of the holy man to gain an advantage in the Battle of Gods Investiture and prevent others from scheming against them.