Just like how some in the sect did not view each other positively, others with similar inclinations would group together. The formation of cliques in a sect was a foregone conclusion.
Cliques could be said to be both good and bad. They had to analyzed in greater depths.
Since the first sect-opening ceremony, the newly-joined disciples congregated around Xu Yunsheng, Li Xingfei and Liu Xiafeng. That was the first step to the formation of cliques.
Then, after Lin Feng's disciples started their own abodes and took in the second-generation disciples, many new disciples had to study day-and-night under their master. As they grew closer, their views of each other became more objective and hence, they started to discover flaws with one another. On the other hand, they also found it easier to group together as they would feel a greater sense of belonging and honor.
Other than that, there were also abodes that got along better with one another.
That was mainly because the 'leaders' in each of these abodes had better ties with each other. Hence, because of good interpersonal ties, the other disciples in their abodes would follow their lead and make friends with their counterparts from the other abodes.
Currently, cliques in the Celestial Sect of Wonders were already beginning to form. However, they were still in their rather early stage and hence, was largely harmless. Instead, it was more like how Han Yang stimulated Tan Yunqing. Competition within the cliques were mainly healthy and hence, it helped the sect become even more vibrant.
Sometimes, complete harmony was like a stagnant pond.
As there was no conflict of interests, the many leaders of each abode, along with Xiao Yan's generation of disciples, were all very cordial and cooperative with one another. Hence, these cliques were largely harmless.
However, if interests were involved, then the situation may worsen. More likely than not, however, it could be still be controlled and stabilized. In reality, many sects and major powers were often in such a state.
Cliques were not scary. However, what was scary was when these cliques started to pursue their interests at the expense of others or even stir up conflict with in the sect.
However, it would be dangerous should there be disagreements on the overall direction where the sect was heading, or if disagreements and conflicts happened at the highest echelon of leadership. Then, it would be too dangerous. The Great Void Sect's situation was still okay while the Samsara Sect's situation was an extreme example.
Currently, there were two major cliques in the Celestial Sect of Wonders. The other circles were all dependent on these two cliques to a certain extent.
The first was Xiao Yan's Inferno Precipice and the other was Zhu Yi's Heavenly Temple.
There was no disagreement between Xiao Yan and Zhu Yi. Their ties were good. However, the disciples under them began to congregate into their own cliques.
In the early days of the Celestial Sect of Wonders, Zhu Yi was the Chief Instructor of the Foundational Disciples and hence, every single disciple of the sect held a certain amount of respect for him. Coupled with the fact that the Qi Cultivation stage disciples cultivated a simplified version of the Great Celestial Way of the Eight Trigrams that he came up with, as well as the Yi Zi's Eight Trigrams Variorum, a good portion of these disciples chose to join his Heavenly Temple after they became successive disciples.
In reality, if the disciples of the other abodes had not yet reached the Foundation Establishment stage, they too would cultivate the Yi Zi's Eight Trigrams Variorum. Xiao Yan and the rest too taught their disciples the Variorum till they reached the Foundation Establishment stage.
Hence, Zhu Yi's Heavenly Temple was the abode with the most disciples.
The Heavenly Temple was filled with exceptional talents. After the Spiritual Conference of the Kunlun Mountains, other than Dao Yuting whose situation was unique, Xu Yunsheng and Ying Luozha were both recognized as the two most powerful second-generation disciples.
Furthermore, there were still exceptional disciples like Sun Xue'er and Yang Tie, the latter of which rose to prominence after the Spiritual Conference of the Kunlun Mountains, catching everyone's attention and rightfully claiming his spot as the First Disciple of the Heavenly Temple.
During the internal spar before the Spiritual Conference of the Kunlun Mountains, four of the Heavenly Temple's disciples were amongst the top 16. Sun Xue'er too could have made it into the top 16 too.
During the Spiritual Conference of the Kunlun Mountains, however, things began to change.
First of all, Zhou Yuncong unintentionally broke the bipolar competition between Xu Yunsheng and Ying Luozha.
Afterwards, as the second-generation disciples started to form their Aurous Cores, Xiao Yan's Inferno Precipice started to catch up. Lin Tong, Tang Jun and Liu Xiafeng successfully formed their cores. However, in the Heavenly Temple, only Ying Luozha and Xu Yunsheng formed their aurous cores.
Other than that, disciples of the Inferno Precipice chose to cultivate the Nanming Saddharma and Nanming Primordial Fire, both of which were useful in cultivating items and pills. This attracted some to join the Inferno Precipice.
After Xu Yunsheng quietly left for the Celestial Wonder World, the Heavenly Temple only had Ying Luozha. Ying Luozha's personality was lonely and he kept a low-profile. Furthermore, as the Heavenly Temple's First Disciple Yang Tie had yet to form his Aurous Core, this damaged the prestige of the Heavenly Temple slightly.
While the Heavenly Temple had the most second-generation disciples, its appeal to third-generation disciples fell by quite a bit. Recently, after the examinations for the foundational disciples, more chose to join the Inferno Precipice than the Heavenly Temple.
However, the foundation of the Heavenly Temple was still strong. However, the Heavenly Temple was no longer a 'hyperpower' amongst the abodes. Instead, it vied for supremacy along with the Inferno Precipice.
Amongst the other abodes, Tan Yunqing, who led the River Abode, had good personal ties with Yang Tie of the Heavenly Temple.
Tan Yunqing did not really get along well with Ying Luozha, but he was okay with Yang Tie.
On the other hand, Luo Qingwu's Qingwu Pavilion had only one disciple, Han Yang. His ties with Huang Zhenting of the Wasteland Valley, Liu Xiafeng and Tang Jun of the Inferno Precipice were good and hence, he gravitated towards the Inferno Precipice.
The situation of the Blizzard Valley and the Wasteland Valley was rather special. Zhao Huan of the Blizzard Valley and Huang Zhenting of the Wasteland Valley, together with Tang Jun and Liu Xiafeng of the Inferno Precipice, were all very close. Hence, they got along pretty well.
Ke Jing of the Blizzard Valley, however, was bestie with Sun Xue'er of the Heavenly Temple and hence, their ties were deep. Zhuge Wanqiu of the Wasteland Valley got along pretty well with the Heavenly Temple too.
Most disciples of the Blizzard Valley congregated around Zhao Huan. While Zhuge Wanqiu was not the First Disciple of the Wasteland Valley, she was rather influential over Huang Zhenting. Conversely, Huang Zhenting was influential over her too.
Other than those abodes, there was still the Forest Abode, which was rather abundant in strong disciples too. Dao Yuting and Li Xingfei were both in their Aurous Core stage and neither was weak, especially Dao Yuting, who possessed the highest mastery level amongst all second-generation disciples.
Dao Yuting and Zhou Yuncong had similar personalities. They rarely interacted with others and hence, the Forest Abode disciples looked to Li Xingfei as their leader. Li Xingfei's ties with Yang Tie, Tan Yunqing, Liu Xiafeng and Tang Jun were all good and hence, the Forest Abode was rather neutral.
For the Blizzard Valley and the Wasteland Valley, some of them leaned towards neutrality.
The most unique person would surely be Zhou Yuncong of the Nirvana World. Like Han Yang, he was the only disciple of his abode. Amongst disciples of the same generation, only Liu Xiafeng and Zhao Huan were able to talk to him. The rest did not interact much with him.
The cliques in the Celestial Sect of Wonders were rather simple and they did not involve any conflict of interests. To say that it was a conflict of personalities may be a stretch too. At best, it could be said to be a conflict of styles as well as opinions.
This was related to their various masters. The disciples of the Inferno Precipice, together with Han Yang and Huang Zhenting, were all rather free-spirited. Conversely, other than Ying Luozha, the disciples of the Heavenly Temple and the River Abode were much rule-abiding and disciplined.
Hence, while the two camps had formed, there was no feeling of animosity. Instead, there was still interaction between the two sides. Often, these were in the form of harmless teasing. However, there were instances when the two sides helped each other.
Just like Han Yang and Tan Yunqing, both of them thought about how to improve themselves to beat each other. Their objective here was to prove that their way of doing things was right instead of deliberately trying to undermine one another.
It was exactly because of this reason that made Lin Feng, Xiao Yan, Zhu Yi and the rest disregard this issue. As long as their overall direction remained unchanged and they did not stray off the right path, they would not intervene too much.
It was still the adage that people think differently and hence, everyone would have different styles of doing things. It was impossible to force humans to have a hive-mind like ants or bees.
Ideally, the two groups should be two saws whose teeth faced away from each other, symbolizing that they would always band together in the face of enemies.
If that could not be the case, then the next-best situation would be for them to be like two saws whose teeth faced each other but remained interlocked. Like this, the two saws were effectively one object.
If the teeth of both saws faced each other and rubbed against each other, then it would be akin to them wasting their strength on each other. That was something Lin Feng, Xiao Yan, Zhu Yi and the rest could not tolerate and would not permit.
One should always take preventive measures. However, right now, the situation was still good. The healthy competition amongst them encouraged them to work harder to better themselves. Lin Feng and his immediate disciples naturally welcome this.
At the same time, everything was within their control and if anything were to go wrong, they would still be able to rectify it.
The disagreement between Han Yang and Tan Yunqing resolved itself quickly and it did not provoke further disagreements. Chu Yang, who was tagging along with them, did not discover anything amiss, let alone others.
Prince Anliang, Liang Fu, and the Divine Martial Army of the Great Zhou Empire sighed silently in relief as they watched the Celestial Sect of Wonder leave.
As Liang Fu and the Cheng Yun Holy Man relaxed, they continued to observe the Celestial Sect of Wonders. While they did not see Wang Lin and Shi Tianhao do anything, they were able to gauge the ability of the Celestial Sect of Wonders based on Yang Qing and the rest.
Han Yang and the other junior disciples too performed stunningly. This left a bitter taste in the mouth of Liang Fu and the Cheng Yun Holy Man.
The Celestial Sect of Wonders today was truly on an upward trajectory.
The Cheng Yun Holy Man's gaze flashed as he said, "This is a Steel Polarity Mine which is cut off from the outside world. While they may be powerful, to be able to make use of it here…."
Liang Fu shook his head and shot him a look and said, "Don't underestimate the Master of the Celestial Sect of Wonders. Let's not talk about whether it would succeed or not. Even if it does succeed, do you want the Master of the Celestial Sect to put aside his quarrel with the Golden Cicada and head back to the Divine Lands to do harm to the Great Zhou Empire?"
"Everyone needs time to grow. If we continue to bide our time, maybe it will benefit the Celestial Sect of Wonders and maybe it will let allow them to further surpass us. However, it's still better than giving ourselves up."
Liang Fu said in a low voice, "We need a chance to turn our bad luck around. Right now, all we can do is wait."
He paused for a while and then sighed, "The Celestial Sect of Wonders is able to completely dominate us. We cannot resist them alone."