Su Hou was hot stuff.
The entire Muzhou internet was in disarray from all the buzz.
The team that had broken the record in the Eastern region finals sheep-herding competition. Su Hou was the farm owner and instructor. Furthermore, given that he was a younger generation Su family member and had been labeled a model youth, how could the media give up such an opportunity for a topic that would generate and capture a lot of attention.
It was not just limited to Muzhou's entertainment media. The political news segment, education news segment, sheep-herding segment, agriculture segment, and even the weather forecast also mentioned the matter. Especially the education segment. That they had found an exemplary model, naturally, they had to proclaim it.
The influence sheep-herding competitions had in Muzhou was something that foreigners would not understand. From being an aristocratic retard, with one leap, Su Hou had become a young star.
The shock of the three words "broke the record" covered the entirety of Muzhou. Whenever anyone from Muzhou talked about this year's sheep-herding competition, they would surely mention Dongshan Farm and thus naturally mention Su Hou. With the precompetition's publicity film to lay the foundations, no one could say that Su Hou did not deserve it.
Of course, when people praised, there would be those that criticized as well.
"Even if Su Hou is a younger member of the Su family, given his age, there is no way he had that much money to hire workers to totally sort out the farm after he bought it. What about the shepherd dog's competition training and food. Furthermore, they still had a veterinarian team. All of those do not come cheap."
"Are you all blind?! An 'exemplary model?' A 'miracle production'? Can you all take a look at the end credits of the publicity film?! Fang Zhao! The main person for composing and editing was Fang Zhao! He who single-handedly propped up Silver Wing's virtual projects department and just completed a global lecture tour. That Fang Zhao! Surely he has done something. To be able to revive Silver Wing's virtual projects department back from the dead, surely this is a scheme of his. Who knows, maybe the entire thing from start to end was a conspiracy!"
"Yeah, who knows, there might be someone behind the scenes supporting. How else would a Su Hou who knew nothing hire Fang Zhao to compose a piece so easily, and how he could collaborate with Shanmu farm that smoothly. And how coincidental that he would get those few shepherd dogs, especially that 'flying' dog."
However, Su Hou paid no heed to all the doubters online. In the past, he would have cared about how the media judged him, but now, he never even bothered to check them. Furthermore, he did not have the time to do so. After the end of competition, he kept receiving calls nonstop.
He received congratulations from his classmates and other members of the Su family. His older brother had found time despite being in the middle of an experiment to give him a call. This was a very rare occurrence. After he ended the call with his brother, he received a call from two of his younger sisters who said they wanted to visit Dongshan Farm and take a photograph with Curly Hair, but the maid looking after them had disapproved, saying it was too dangerous and to wait after the buzz to die down before looking for a chance.
Muzhou central district, Qingcheng, Qingtai Mountain.
Qingtai Mountain was not the highest mountain in Muzhou—it could not even be considered high, as it looked like a mountain that had its top two-thirds shaved off. At the summit, there were a few courtyards and traditional buildings. No skyscrapers could be found there. But in Muzhou, this mountain held a special significance. The earliest Muzhou government had been located here, and Great General Su Mu of the founding era and other important leaders had stayed there. After the number of descendants had increased, the government had made new plans to shift elsewhere. Now, those living on Qingtai Mountain were the earliest descendants of those leaders. Most of them were already retired elderly. The young were not willing to coop themselves in that sort of restrictive place and be observed.
On top of Qingtai Mountain, inside an old residence.
A few white-haired seniors were sitting in the center. Surrounding them were a few middle-aged men and women, sitting reservedly. The room was very quiet. The younger generations that were sitting at the sides and corners wished they could find a place to sneak off to.
Originally, those few elders had arranged to watch the competition together, but never had they expected to see a youngster of the Su family. To those elders with over 100 years of age, that generation of Su Hou's age did not leave much of a lasting impression on them. They could not even count the number of great-grandchildren they had with the fingers on both hands, let alone their great-great-grandchildren. Unless they were outstanding or good at making themselves stand out, these elders could not even match their names to their faces.
However, just one round of the Eastern region sheep-herding finals was enough to make them remember Su Hou's name.
An elder sighed. "I never expected that among the youngsters of the Su family there would still be such a fellow!"
"To be able to achieve this sort of result, he has indeed done well!" another elder exclaimed.
This bunch of oldies had experienced a lot. Whether Su Hou had any support behind the scenes, they could guess as much without investigating. However, whether his luck was good, or whether he found anyone to help him, it was all down to Su Hou's own ability. Of all the people he could help, why had Fang Zhao specifically chosen to help him? The Su family had many promising youngsters; why would Fang Zhao, who had a reputation in the music industry, choose to help Su Hou, who was often looked down upon and even called a retard?
In the end, luck was but a part of one's ability.
"That Fang Zhao person, I heard he is a composer from Yanzhou?"
"Mhmm, I heard as well. This year, when Su Hou went to Yanzhou to pay his respects, he probably met this Fang Zhao there. The exact same name. What a coincidence."
In this world, there were many people who shared the same names, and many who shared the same names as martyrs. They guessed that, during Su Hou's time paying his respects in Yanzhou, he coincidentally met a person called Fang Zhao and hence got to know each other.
"We can investigate it when the time comes. However, that is all secondary. What I wish to know is who set up that scam!"
Originally, the elder was speaking in a warm tone, but when he reached the last part of his sentence, his tone abruptly intensified and his eyes flashed with anger, like a sword that had been unsheathed.
They ignored the younger generation of Su's internal squabbles and competition. With competition came motivation. The more outstanding ones would achieve better resources. Small squabbles and fights would pass. However, they absolutely could not allow the act of defrauding a fellow family member for one's own benefit! If they wanted to compete, they had to go about it fair and square!
To hurt another family member was absolutely forbidden. These were the words Great General Su Mu had left for the Su family descendants. Anyone who broke this sacred rule would be made to leave the Su family. If it was not a Su family member that had defrauded another, then all the more reason why they had to investigate. Who dared to cheat the Su family? Even if he was a retard, who were you to bully him as you please?!
The resounding "investigate" word made the youngsters in the room shiver. It looked like certain people were going to be out of luck.
Su hou had just ended the call with his younger sisters when he received a video call from an older female cousin in Qingcheng.
"Su Hou, you are gonna have it good!"
"Ah?" Su Hou had a blank look.
"Hehe, a few people are gonna get unlucky real soon." The girl in the projection smiled as if she took delight in the misfortune of others and proceeded to tell Su Hou what had happened in the room on Qingtai. This was followed by another round of getting to know Su Hou all over again. "Su Hou, you changed so much, skinnier and tanned. Hey, previously in the publicity film, did you intentionally act, or was it really just an edit of your normal everyday routine?"
"Of course it was the editing! Everything inside is completely real!" Su Hou disputed. All the footage from the film was taken by his three bodyguards, Shanmu Farm's security cameras, and Fang Zhao's own objective recordings, as well as his own video recordings. The footage had been collated and edited into a short film, with some slight artistic touches added in. Back then, he had not even known that his three bodyguards were monitoring him. After he found out, he was a little pissed, but thinking it through, he was accident-prone and had a past record. The three bodyguards were only doing their job ensuring his safety, so Su Hou did not blame them but instead assigned new tasks for them.
"I was just asking. Don't get so worked up. Was the film edited by Fang Zhao or was it completed by you?"
At the mention of this, Su Hou felt a little embarrassed. "Master Zhao edited it. Two days before the submission, I passed a portion of a video to Master Zhao, who did the rest. I only did a little bit. Actually, I had edited a version of the publicity film, but when I saw Master Zhao's video, I couldn't bring myself to take it out."
"Master Zhao? Sounds like this person is rather good at putting on airs. Wait a minute, did you say you made your own video? Send it to me. Don't be shy, we are family; if it sucks, I won't say a word to anyone." Even if she intended to spread it, after seeing the fury of the elders on Qingtai Mountain, she would not even dare do so.
Su Hou thought for a bit and felt that letting his own Su family members see it was no big deal, so he sent that video over to her. In a short moment, his elder female cousin had sent a reply.
"In the future... it would be better to leave these sort of artistic matters to a proper artist. Oh, i almost forgot. How did you get to know Fang Zhao?" This was what Su Hou's cousin really wanted to know.
Su Hou spoke about the circumstances at the cemetery and how he had approached Fang Zhao for help.
Su Hou's cousin remained silent for quite a bit this time before, finally, faintly saying, "Seems like your 49 kowtows were not for nothing."
After ending the call, Su Hou's cousin related the story to a few other Su family members of the same generation. Some of them were wondering whether they should head over during the next memorial day for some kowtows? Su Hou had gone to Yanzhou and, after some kowtows, had met a prosperous helping hand. They wondered if they would maybe become popular next year if they kowtowed before Su Mu's grave!
Su Hou also felt that the kowtows had totally been worth it. He might have been gloomy over his siblings fooling him back then, but now he realized it had been worth it. If he had not knocked his head that many times, he would not have run over to Su Mu's grave in a bout of fury to complain and would not have met Fang Zhao, and things would not have turned out this way.
Over at Muzhou, Dongshan Farm had become all the rage because of the Eastern region finals. Su Hou and Shanmu Farm had all become popular. Needless to say, the competition dogs had all featured on this year's ranking charts, especially the lead dog, Curly Hair. In human competitions, there was always a most valuable player, and sheep-herding competitions similarly had such an award. After the competition, there was a vote, and Curly Hair unanimously won the most valuable dog award. At the same time, the sheep-herding competition organizers posted the value rankings of the eastern region competition dogs on their homepage.
Curly Hair had a value of 50 million and was worthy of its title of most valuable dog.
Wu Yi was even happier than Fang Zhao. Six out of the seven dogs in the team were from his farm. Although Bingo was worth a few million, still far off from Curly Hair, Wu Yi was already very satisfied. The added value of his six dogs also amounted to at least a hundred million. Furthermore, this was only temporary. When the finals started, their value would continue to rise, perhaps by a few times.
The creases from Wu Yi's face had become deeper from all that smiling. He sighed ruefully and said, "Fang Zhao said back then that this dog had wandered for who knows how long in the black street. When he picked it up, it was all skin and bones and could not even stand."
For the people of Muzhou who loved dogs, the circumstances that Fang Zhao had mentioned were unimaginable.
Muzhou's laws safeguarded the interest of the people of Muzhou. Every law-abiding citizen of Muzhou would have their own plot of land other than those inherited from their parents or elders. There were charities that would give those with special circumstances plots of land or perhaps work. As long as they were not lazy and did not abandon themselves, they would be able to have a life. Dogs were different. They did not have land or jobs. However, there were no strays in Muzhou. Even if they were abandoned by their old farm owners, the new farm owners would also take care of them. Otherwise, those farm owners would be viewed by others as wicked and heartless. In other continents, people would term this as emotional blackmail, but in Muzhou, they felt that this was the right thing to do. After all, deciding to raise them, it was their responsibility. Even if they were not raised well, it was up to the farm owners' own decision.
"Fang Zhao has some good luck!" Who would know that a stray that was picked up could achieve the unexpected status it had today?! If everyone had known, what would have happened all those years in the black street?
And since Curly Hair occupied the top ranking in the Eastern region, its life story also came into the light.
"What?! It is not a Muzhou dog?!"
"To actually be from another continent?"
"Don't care about anything else, let's not waste time and buy it over!"