The world was made up of twelve continents—eight normal continents and four special continents.
The eight normal continents were ordinary residential continents. The other seven normal continents besides Yanzhou did not have many differences. The four special continents, however, were relatively unconventional.
Zuo Yu had expected Fang Zhao to pick the closest continents to Yanzhou: Lazhou and Leizhou. However, he had not expected that, on Monday, Fang Zhao would tell him that their destination was Muzhou, one of the four special continents.
Muzhou was a huge agricultural continent. In the twelve continents, it played the role of a granary. Eighty percent of the world's natural foodstuff was produced in Muzhou. In this age where synthetic food was the norm, the prices of natural foods had increased. Muzhou's produce would have been even higher, especially those produced at Muzhou's Su Family Farm. These could be considered a luxury good, but many people bought them. Many families with conditions would purchase natural foodstuffs straight from Muzhou, and affluent families would purchase agricultural produce directly from the Su Family Farm every month.
Other than that, Muzhou also had many tourist attractions. When people from other continents were sick of life in the city, surrounded by skyscrapers and a concrete jungle, they loved to relax in Muzhou, to see the vast and expansive earth and the clouds in the clear blue sky.
Muzhou was vast but sparsely populated. It was said that, many years ago, when the great general Su Mu had lead his people and reclaimed Muzhou, he had aired his views. He had wanted to build a few more farms at the land they had reclaimed. After that, when the New Era was established, Su Mu had really gone ahead with his plan. However, some people chose to leave Muzhou and headed to other continents that were developing. They felt that, compared to other continents that were rapidly building skyscrapers and cities, Muzhou was simply full of peasants. Less than one tenth of the original inhabitants had chosen to stay behind in Muzhou, and after that, there were still people that left gradually. Thus, the people remaining were not many. Even today, among all the twelve continents, Muzhou still had the lowest population.
Zuo Yu had been to Muzhou once. Back then, he was on an exchange exercise with the forces and thus did not have much time for sightseeing. However, what left a deep and unforgettable impression were the boundless farmlands and pastures.
The flying transport they were on had an optimal flight height. The transport was transoceanic but could not handle flying out of the atmosphere and into outer space. Upon entering Muzhou, Zuo Yu flew the craft lower so that Fang Zhao could view the vast fields and winding rivers from the window.
Zuo Yu was a rather talkative person. Since he got an all-expenses-paid trip so soon after becoming an assistant, he was in high spirits. As Fang Zhao did not seem to say much, Zuo Yu tried to find a topic to talk about.
"Can I call you Boss? Director Duan said that you would be paying my wages. Since I'm your subordinate, I should be calling you Boss, right?" Zuo Yu asked.
"Sure." Fang Zhao had no expectations when it came to how people addressed him.
"Boss, what made you pick Muzhou first? Could it be that you had wanted to travel here all along? I think you already know this, but Muzhou is really not too bad. Here the people lead a carefree and leisurely lifestyle. Have you heard this saying? Muzhou's landlords are very much like dogs!"
This was people from other continents teasing Muzhou. Of course, the saying carried some envy and jealousy as well.
Muzhou had many landowners, and the family of Su Mu, a great general of the founding era, were the largest landlords and the richest amongst all the landowners.
"If only I was a Muzhou citizen. I could have received a large farm or pasture from my parents and been a leisurely landlord. Then I would hire some cheap labor from foreign continents and get them to work the land or herd animals. I wouldn't need to keep an eye on them much—as long as they could use machines, it'd be fine. Then I would fly my transport and travel the world. Perhaps I could even be like the Su family and own my own spaceship. Every month I could head to a foreign planet for an extended holiday. Oh, those days!"
Compared to other continents, the pace of life in Muzhou was much more relaxed. The thoughts that Zuo Yu had were not just limited to him. Many people who came to Muzhou also had the same daydreams.
"However, that is only wishful thinking on my part. There are restrictions in Muzhou! Even money won't necessarily allow one to purchase land here. In Muzhou, only those who had stayed behind with great general Su Mu during the Founding Era were given land. This was the rule set down by Su Mu. Even if people from other continents migrated over, they could only purchase a small piece of land for a farm. Only if there were special circumstances where the Su family would treat one specially, only then could someone obtain a sizeable piece of land."
Zuo Yu's face was green with envy as he spoke. "In short, I really admire this Su Mu person; he had vision. The descendants of those that followed him to take back Muzhou are all big landlords. As long as they own a piece of land, they can enjoy all they want. What a bunch of nouveau riche! I heard that before the end of days, Su Mu was a cow herder—"
"Shepherd," Fang Zhao interrupted.
"Before the end of days, Su Mu was a shepherd, not a cow herder," Fang Zhao replied.
"...Oh. The meaning is similar. My history isn't that good, I can never get my facts right."
Zuo Yu remember that Duan Qianji had let him see Fang Zhao's information. It had stated that Fang Zhao's history was very good, especially the history of the Period of Destruction. Compared to many reputable historians, his knowledge was not inferior.
Looking at the color of the sky and checking the weather forecast, Zuo Yu asked, "It is going to rain soon. Seems like it will be a heavy downpour. Should we continue on our way to Qingcheng, or should we find a place to wait it out?"
The Qingcheng that Zuo Yu mentioned was not a town but a city. It was the capital of Muzhou as well as the political and financial hub. Muzhou's government was located there as well as the Muzhou Cemetery for Martyrs.
Fang Zhao also browsed through the weather news for this area of Muzhou. After a short consideration, he said, "Let's stop first."
"Got it!" Zuo Yu searched for a place nearby where he could land. "There is a farm ahead where we can land the transport. I shall send them a request."
Many of the larger farms in Muzhou were equipped with garages meant specially for flying cars, vehicles, and other transports, as there were always many tourists who come to Muzhou, be they free and easy or following tours. Sometimes, should they encounter special situations which required them to take temporary shelter, they would have to stop at the nearest farm.
Stopping was not free, though. There was a fee to be paid. The amount depended on how much the owner's family decided. If the farm owner wanted to collect more, he would. If he was in good spirits, he might even let them stop over for free.
"The farm owner has agreed. Ten dollars per hour." Zuo Yu laughed as he saw the offer. "Seems like this farm owner is in good spirits today. That is a cheap price. I knew a guy that came to tour Muzhou—when he stopped, the fee was a few hundred!"
Fang Zhao paid for an hour first as he did not know the situation at the farm. If it was bad, they could leave straight away. If the condition was fine, topping up more to rest a while longer was no issue.
The traffic light at the farm had already lit up. Zuo Yu steered the vehicle to make a descent.
Two people dressed in the working attire of the farm ran over. They should be workers that the farm owner employed.
Fang Zhao had only just stepped out from the transport when he saw a young employee hurry over to him and ask, "Do you require food and lodging? We provide guest rooms for tourists at a cheap price. Today the owner is in a good mood, so prices will be very cheap. Do your energy cells require changing? We have most mainstream energy cells here; we charge according to market rate."
Fang Zhao had not replied when he heard "woof woof woof." It sounded like a large dog.
The sound became louder and closer. In no time, Fang Zhao saw the figure of a large black dog that was over a meter tall. Perhaps it had seen an unfamiliar flying vehicle and caught the scent of strangers and came bounding over to stand guard. It did not get too close, standing about 20 meters away, howling at Fang Zhao and Zuo Yu. The fur on its body seem like it was going to explode.
This was a descendant of a meritorious service dog that had been in Muzhou.
After the end of days, service dogs were no longer needed on battlefields anymore. Every continent had some service dogs. Other than those that remained with the military, many were kept as pet dogs and bred from generation to generation. Now, the majority of descendants of such service dogs living in the city only kept the appearance of their ancestors but not their temperament. They still grew big, but as people in the New Era no longer required them to do much, most had become docile and meek.
However, Muzhou was a special exception. After the founding of the new era, Muzhou's service dogs were split into two portions. One portion remained in the military as combat dogs and continued training. The other portion were trained as shepherd dogs and became the farm owners' helpers.
In Muzhou, killing dogs was prohibited. Many farm owners held greater regard for their shepherd dog's lives than those of tourists.
As Zuo Yu faced the black dog baring its teeth and howling at them, he thought to himself, This is a real dog. How could Fang Zhao's Curly Hair back in the 50th floor of Silver Wing be considered a dog. It can only be considered a toy!