The core of Muzhou's entertainment industry was the sheep-herding competition. There were not many actors, and there were even fewer singers. However, the people of Muzhou were rich. Every time there was an opening ceremony of a large-scale competition, they would invite world-renowned superstars to perform and liven up the atmosphere so as to increase the reputation of Muzhou's sheep-herding competitions throughout the world. These stars had fans, and the fans would watch the live broadcasts and would naturally learn of Muzhou's yearly grand competition.
The normal rounds of sheep-herding competitions would not be broadcast to other continents, but the finals were different. Every year, many popular online broadcasting companies would collaborate with Muzhou's side to stream the competition. The entertainment circles of each continent did not prevent it, as it was a win-win situation for everyone.
And all the people that caught the broadcast would see the image from how the organizers chose to film it.
The main focus would surely be on prominent figures such as celebrities and the descendants of those aristocratic families. After the recording went through one round, it would then feature the viewing halls of each participating team. When the introduction came to Dongshan Farm's viewing hall, staff in Silver Wing's internal departments that were secretly watching the broadcast all started to curse at the same moment.
"F*ck! It's Zu Wen, that slut!"
"That position is very good, heh. They can probably see many stars, right?
"Regret not joining the virtual projects department back when it was still easy to get in!"
Even though the footage lasted only two seconds, they all saw the pretentious Zu Wen posing up on the viewing platform. Other than Zu Wen, there were other members of the virtual projects department, but the others were not as conspicuous as Zu Wen. Some of the others could not be seen clearly, but the Silver Wing people, especially those from the technician group, knew that the entire virtual projects department was there at the best viewing hall, with the best positions, being broadcast to the world. And this was all a part of their department vacation. It simply made the other members jealous!
Seeing the virtual projects department riding waves in Muzhou, whereas they themselves were working overtime everyday, this sort of taste... Why did so many people rant about wanting to beat up Zu Wen? This question was not that hard to understand.
Su Hou's group had not finished the inspection yet when Su Feng came over, bearing many gifts for Fang Zhao and the gang.
Four Elephants had made huge profits in Yanzhou. Although their advertisements came out at the opportune moment, the sales volume's rapid growth was a fact. When Su Feng had found out that Fang Zhou would be bringing his department members over to watch the competition, he got his workers to specially wrap gifts as a form of thanks and to improve relations. After all, everyone would be continuing to collaborate in the future, so it was better to get closer.
Getting to watch the competition for free and now receiving benefits, although Zu Wen and the rest did not really care about the cost of these items, the treatment made them really happy.
Su Feng spoke to Fang Zhao regarding Four Elephant's marketing campaign and its achievements in Yanzhou. A moment later, Su Hou and Wu Yi brought the veterinarian team and the shepherd dogs over.
"Faster, faster, faster! Let's take a group photo with all the participating contestants!" Zu Wen went over and took quite a few photographs and videos. These were for showing off when he got back.
Curly Hair was wagging his tail nonstop and seemed very happy. The other dogs were the same without any hint of prematch jitters. On the other hand, the pressure on Su Hou as the instructor was crushing.
"I heard that many are coming over to watch the competition live, although they were afraid to affect your condition and hence did not come here. After you have finished, you will probably get to see a number of familiar faces," Su Feng said.
"I know." Su Hou had been informed about all this earlier, and that was the reason he was feeling even more nervous. This feeling he was having was similar to when he'd first stood on position for his first competition, a mixture of anxiety, fear, and self-doubt. Su Hou knew this was not right, and after chatting a little with Su Feng, he retired to the resting room to recharge.
Su Hou had formed the habit of watching the Eastern region's publicity film a few times and listening to the BGM. It helped boost his fighting spirit. He was still young and still had a long way to go. There was no way he could compete with all the other experienced competitors, so he could only use this method to adjust his state of mind.
Wu Yi was used to this and did not ask anything. Instead, he went over to Fang Zhao's side and handed over the Curly Hair's test reports. This was what Fang Zhao had asked for previously. Including the normal rounds of competition and the Eastern region finals, Fang Zhao had stockpiled all of them.
Wu Yi did not think much about the matter. Curly Hair belonged to Fang Zhao. As an owner, keeping copies of test reports was normal.
Today as well, Fang Zhao kept a copy of the test report. Similar to his previous test reports during the normal rounds of competition, other than Curly Hair having higher concentrations of certain metals in his body, everything else was normal. The concentration of those metals in his body was also at an acceptable level. Otherwise, he would have been barred from competing. This sort of situation was not that uncommon when it came to dogs with wild-dog ancestry in them.
Wu Yi stopped talking after a while. He had gotten jittery too. The viewing hall was a distance away from the outside, but the pressure and nervousness one felt there was different from the normal rounds of competition, and it was enough to make even the experienced Wu Yi unable to keep calm.
The finals were not limited to just one day. They took place over a period of a few competition days, and each time, the rounds would be different. Every team would get points for each round, and at the end, the team that accumulated the most points would be the champions.
Today's first round was not much different from the normal rounds of competition, but the obstacles in the pasture were slightly different. For this round, the sheep could still disperse after being gathered when they encountered the imitation hills or ditches. The difficulty compared to the normal rounds was much higher. However, this first round was still the easiest in the finals, and each of the following rounds would get progressively harder. Thus, every team wanted to score high points for the first round, as it would give them some guarantee.
For the finals, Muzhou officials wanted to attract a global audience, so the prematch introductions of the farms were made much simpler. After the brief introduction was the opening ceremony and performances. This was the segment that viewers from other continents were anticipating the most.
However, the Muzhou masses only saw this as noise and excitement. They were more interested in the competition that followed.
After an hour of the opening ceremony and warm-up, it was time to draw lots for the appearing order of the teams.
The person in charge of drawing for the team was still Su Hou. This time, among the eight teams, Dongshan would be the third team to appear.
As this pastures were bigger, the times would increase as well. The teams that were taking part in the competition were all highly capable. As long as the shepherd dogs did not make serious mistakes on an unfamiliar ground, just by following their instructor's commands, they should be able to complete it.
The two teams in front did not make any serious mistakes, and their minor errors were very quickly corrected. This made Zu Wen and the rest tense as they followed the competition. Seeing the first two teams' performances, they had a totally new outlook toward the IQ of shepherd dogs. These dogs were way more intelligent than they had expected. Due to the performance of the two teams, they were a little worried for their own.
The two teams had times around the five and a half minute mark. One was 5 minutes 28 seconds and the other was 5 minutes 33 seconds. Both of these teams were from the Western region and this result was quite decent.
Next up was Su Hou's team. Su Hou and the shepherd dogs had gone down earlier to prepare.
"So nervous. I never had any interest in sheep herding competitions before, but now my heart feels like it is going to fly out of my chest!" Rodney exclaimed.
"Watching live and catching the broadcast are totally different. Of course, what's most important is that the competition has your dogs and you have wagered on them. Being nervous is normal, everyone feels the same way," Su Feng told them.
He had felt like this back when he was ten years old. That time, his aunt's family dog was competing. He had wagered all of his allowance on them. Although, eventually, they had not won, he still remembered clearly the nervous anticipation he had felt then. As a Muzhou citizen, seeing all these foreigners being captivated, one could not help but feel proud.
The sound of the timer machine counted down. With a "Boom," the flock of sheep entered the pasture, as did the shepherd dogs. There were a few loose sheep that were originally scattered within the pasture. Their job was to gather up these loose sheep together with the flock and drive them toward the goal.
"Come on, my babies! Pay attention and follow closely. Don't run in the wrong positions!"
"Very good, follow the commands! Good form, Curly Hair! Oh, my little cuties!"
In a moment, all sorts of "babies," "little cuties," "darlings," and other corny terms came out. Zu Wen and the others, who would normally not be caught doing this, joined in the madness alongside Wu Yi.
Seeing Fang Zhao still sitting on his chair, staring at the screen as if he was solving a problem, Zu Wen shouted over, "Hey, Boss, stop being so serious! Come over and show your support!"
"They can't hear your shouting over at the field."
"What's important are the feelings. You understand feelings, right? The one participating is Curly Hair, our department's Golden Dog. His value will rise even more after winning!" Zu Wen was no longer looking at Fang Zhao; his eyes were on the screen, following the dogs who were rounding up the sheep.
"This is the first time I clearly realized how intelligent Curly Hair really is," Rodney said ruefully.
Shepherd dogs were very intelligent. This they could tell from watching past videos and seeing the previous two teams' performances. However, Curly Hair's performance let them know that this dog was even smarter than others. More importantly, it had a knack for sheep herding.
Fang Zhao stared fixedly at the screen. Every ounce of his concentration was focused on the little curly-haired dog that appeared on screen.
Moreover, it was not even normal intelligence. Curly Hair's IQ seemed less and less like that of a normal dog.
Fang Zhao knew all along that Curly Hair had a very impressive learning capability. When he had first picked it up, if it only had the perceptiveness of a stray, its intelligence then would not have been so surprising. It probably knew that staying by Fang Zhao's side would be safer and there would be no need to worry about food and water, so it had stayed and followed Fang Zhao every day. After Fang Zhao had brought it to the office, it had unknowingly learned a lot. It knew how to use its own personal urinal, learned how to listen to instructions, and understood more and more words. Although Fang Zhao had taught him a few things, it had picked up even more from its daily life. What it saw and heard, it absorbed even more quickly.
When Curly Hair had started sheep herding, it had started off as a complete newbie too. However, very quickly, it'd learned to make use of its imposing manner and mastered many tactics.
Really, what sort of dog was this?
Was it like this at the start, or had it started to change later on?
If it had such a strong learning capability and attacking strength at the start, how could it have gotten itself into such a bad state in the black street and nearly starved to death? Yue Qing and Ai Wen, who had lived in the black street for decades, had said that this stray had lived in the black street for a few years already.
If he had only started to change after that, when did it started?
Fang Zhao thoroughly tried to recall back to the time when he'd just woken up in this body. As for this dog, inside its body, could something else have woken up inside?
Without a doubt, this was indeed a dog. But could this dog's body be hiding something inside?
From a normal stray in the black street to a "dangerous material" discovered by the police dogs while in the car. It was still changing, its learning capabilities and strength still increasing. So much so that... it had started learning how to conceal its own strength.
How much more would it change in the future?
Fang Zhao pondered as he watch the little figure running on the screen.