The descent of the Seven Stars deeply shook the Upper Three Realms. The results of the various clan elders' divinations were.....
The one they sought was in the Profound Pavillion.
What sort of place was the Profound Pavillion? That was Lady Providence's personal residence.
Those chosen as spokesmen all felt indescribable bitterness, but they could only grin and bear it. They hurried to the Profound Pavillion, but although the gate was wide open, not one of them dared enter uninvited.
The first to arrive had actually already stood outside the gates for a full two hours. All he could do was swallow his bitterness and wait patiently.
Without Lady Providence's consent, who dared trespass in the Profound Pavillion?
"Come on in, everyone," said a barely discernible voice, and the gathered emissaries finally dared to enter.
More and more people gathered within the spacious courtyard, but after entering the courtyard they stopped and gazed at Lady Providence in her traveler's pavilion.
They bowed deeply to her and said, "Greetings, Lady Providence."
"Alright, alright, at ease," she said, waving her hands impatiently. "I know you've all come to see the Lord of Seven Stars, but she's not here right now. There's no need to worry, though. The Lord of Seven Stars happens to be a dear friend of mine, so naturally, I'll help her select a good place to settle down."
"Yes, yes, of course," they said, smiling bitterly yet not daring to complain in the slightest.
"In that case... Everyone, tell me where you come from, and what greeting-gifts you've brought," said Lady Providence with a roguish, then pointed at someone at random, "let's start with you."
What sorts of greeting presents have you prepared?" said Lady Providence. "Let's start with you."
"Lady Providence, I am an elder of the Ironback Bear Clan, and this...."
"Ironback Bears are merely second-rate Yao, your clan doesn't have even a single ruler, yet you want to recruit a star-bearer? Are you dreaming? I really don't know how you even managed to determine her location. Alright, alright, you're eliminated from the competition, but leave your greeting present behind."
"Lady Providence, I'm....."
"Lady Providence, I'm...."
In just an hour, she'd sifted through almost half of the crowd, but only two clans met her standards.
The first was an emperor clan with a long history. Of course........ this emperor clan's history was simply too long, so few people knew of them. Lady Providence let their emissary stay purely to give their ancestor face.
The second was the Vermillion Bird Clan. They were yao, and one of the Sacred Beast Clans. Naturally, they were allowed to stay.
"I'm curious, do you people really know the Lord of Seven Stars' status or not? Has every trivial little clan come to test their luck?" Lady Providence frowned deeply and scolded the group. "As for the current nine emperor clans, why haven't they shown up yet? Are they all blind?"
None of the emissaries dared respond.
"Fine. I don't have the patience to keep screening you all. If you're human but not from an emperor clan, or yao but not a sacred beast, you can go. However, you have to leave your greeting gifts behind."
"Why?" Amongst the crowd, one of the emissaries called out boldly, "Even if you're Lady Providence, and even if you're the beloved of the God Emperor, you can't insult us like this. Recruiting the star-bearer requires sincerity. Who are you to kick us out without so much as letting us meet her? And want us to leave our presents behind, too? Aren't you taking things a little too far? Everyone, are you with me?"
This rabble-rouser had thought the others would cooperate with him, not realizing that they were all looking pointedly away from him, and those standing near him had even started backing away slowly for fear they'd be implicated too.
Clap. Clap. Clap.
Lady Providence smiled and applauded, then suddenly transformed into a puff of blue smoke and appeared directly before the emissary.
"Well said. You've got guts."
The emissary swallowed nervously, only to hear her laugh.
"Do you have any idea what kind of resources a star-bearer's cultivation requires? Yes, a star-bearer is a saint-level talent, but they won't amount to anything at all without sufficient resources. Minor powers like you hope to rely on her to change your innate talents. Fine, but the precondition is that you have enough resources to support her consumption.
With that, she turned to the other eliminated emissaries and said, "All of you, your clan reserves can't even compete with me, yet you dare come here and try to recruit a star-bearer? She is my dear friend, so it seems reasonable for her to follow me. Why, then, do you think I haven't recruited her? It's because I know that I don't have sufficient resources to support her future cultivation. Instead, I'd like to help her find a good place. Haven't you heard the expression 'a fine bird chooses a tree to nest in'?"
"As for you, boy....." she turned her gaze to the troublemaker from before. "Just now, you complained that I wanted your greeting gifts? Let me tell you, my rule is, and always has been, 'goose must leave behind their feathers, beasts must leave behind their skins,' understand?"
The emissary could no longer resist her authority; he toppled to the ground.
Then, she turned to the others and called out, "If you haven't met my standards, scram!"
The emissaries left their gifts and fled in terror.
Before long, only ten people remained in the courtyard.
"You all...." Lady Providence smiled inquisitively.
"Lady Providence, is there any need for further testing? Just now, you said only humans from emperor clans and yao from sacred beast clans could remain. The others just left, so everyone still here should meet your standards. I doubt any of us would dare deceive you."
The speaker was a young man dressed in scholar's robes. He smiled confidently even when facing Lady Providence.
"Then where do you come from?"
"The Four Directions Palace," said the young man with a calm grin.
The Four Directions Palace was led by Emperor Bi'an, and was a supreme power that stood above both men and sacred beasts. They stood at the peak in terms of both fame and fortune.
The way he saw it, the Lord of Seven Stars would inevitably choose to follow him.
Most of the other nine emissaries were stunned, but one man's eyes flashed with contempt. However, Lady Providence didn't pay any attention to their expressions.
Instead, she curled her lips into a smile and asked the young man, "Then which highness of the Four Directions Palace are you?"
"You must be joking, how could I be one of the Four Directions Palace's highnesses? I am but the Third Highness's page boy," said the scholarly young man. He smiled modestly, yet internally was quite pleased with himself.
Besides Bi'an, the Third Highness was the only one to exercise real authority, and someone capable of being his page was absolutely an existence that stood above countless others.
"A page boy?" She smiled inquisitively, then bellowed, "Get out!"
"Hm?" Her expression darkened as she said," you, you're nothing but a mere page boy. You aren't even one of the highnesses, yet you dare talk back to me?"
"I'll say it just once more. Get out, or die."