When the standings came out, some people were delighted, while some were anxious. Now only sighs came from the previously high-spirited tour group. However, most people wanted to try their hand, and losing some money did not make them regret. They were more curious regarding the farm owners who had placed their bets on Team No. 3.
The farm owners there were not disheartened. Their faces were still smiling as they discussed the possibility of Team No. 7 breaking into the top four of the eastern region and how the lead dog of Team No. 7 was so incisive.
"Shoubei Farm seems to have great ambitions this year. In the previous two years, they were just a mid-tier team. I heard that this year they have a trump card they've been hiding."
"Shoubei don't even need to buy any ads this year. That dog is the best advertisement. Who knows how many investors they will pull in this year. I'm so jealous, man!"
On the screen, the onsite commentator seemed to really like the lead dog of Team No. 7. "Shoubei Farm's Team No. 7 has achieved first place today. The lead dog, Dog A is today's most valuable participant. Let's take a look at its information. Today it is celebrating its first birthday as well as being a debut participant, the golden-colored shepherd dog, Gold Colt! Lots of people here are rushing over to get a photo with Gold Colt. Lots of tourists from other continents are here as well..."
After watching the introduction on screen, Zuo Yu whispered to Fang Zhao, "Boss, how did you know that dog would win?"
"Feeling," Fang Zhao replied.
That dog really looked more menacing than the rest and had a penetrative stare. Perhaps many people had felt that, when it lead the herding, it would be very impulsive. However, in reality, it did not attack that incisively. It was restrained and very smart. Just like a well-trained soldier, it knew how to execute its tasks at the right moments. Indeed, it led the other dogs in its team well and carried out the instructions that it had honed on normal days to perfection.
When Fang Zhao was checking up on the information of the participating teams, he'd felt a sense of familiarity when he came across that dog. It reminded him of combat canines during the end of days. Although Gold Colt was still some way from a combat canine in the New Era, as a shepherd dog, it had done very well. Coupled with some of the experience that his old friend Su Mu had imparted to Fang Zhao back them, he had chosen Team No. 7 for first place.
As for the rest of the teams, Fang Zhao had used information from analyses of past results to make his decision. As some luck would be involved, and for positions six and seven, the variables were way too high, Fang Zhao had only bought an entry for the first five positions.
"Oh, seems like Muzhou farm owners are used to these activities already. They don't even feel anything after lumping that much money for nothing," someone muttered.
Wu Yi heard that and snickered in his heart.
How could that be? Did he really think that all that money fell from the sky?
It was just that this time his older cousin was taking part, so he had to give some face. When the time came, other than all the literal support, he still had to place his bets and show them to the others. This was proof of his support. Who knew, maybe if his old cousin was happy, she might send him a puppy.
Why was he not dejected? That was because, when he had placed his bets, at the same time, his wife had placed a million dollars on Team No. 7's Shoubei Farm. Although he really had hoped his older cousin's farm would win, her farm's strength was limited. Comparing the teams, Shoubei farm had been making waves in the scene this year. Thus, he had let his wife place a side bet. They did not make any money from the two bets combined and instead paid out some transaction fees, but those additional fees were insignificant. As long as they did not make a large loss, he was still satisfied.
The other small farm owners would have placed bets on Team No. 7 secretly as well. They just would not openly declare it, especially not to people from other continents. They actually looked forward to the foreigners following their bets. Despite losing, they were still able to make a contribution to their own continent. Muzhou spent a large amount of funds on improving the land, crops, and livestock, as well as technological advancements and construction. Every year, the sheep herding competition would bring in alot of funds from the hands of foreign tourists. This made the farm owners very happy. They found joy in swindling others.
Wu Yi was very happy to see the foreign tourists losing money. As he glimpsed the hanging heads and dejected spirits of those people, he was secretly delighted. But when his gaze fell on Fang Zhao's table, he paused.
"Hey, the two youngsters over there, you placed bets too, right? How did it go?" Wu Yi loudly asked. "Looking at your expressions, you must have hit your predictions, right?" The farm owners were not good-for-nothings. If they had not even had half a brain, how would they have steadily managed medium-sized farms? Judging body and facial expressions was not that hard. The two men there had smiles on their faces. Even if they had not made a windfall, they had certainly hit a few bets.
"Eh, someone managed to hit the prediction for first place?" The people from the tour group looked toward Fang Zhao's table with curious gazes.
Fang Zhao was not smiling because of his winnings; he was smiling as he remembered how Su Mu had talked about training his shepherd dogs. Hearing Wu Yi's question, he replied, "Our luck wasn't too bad."
"Really picked Team No. 7?" A smaller farm owner asked in astonishment. He knew that before the competition, even many people in Muzhou had tipped Team No. 3 as a favorite. It was only that the owners here had received some secret tips, only then did their intentions change. If even their own people would not have picked Team No. 7, why would foreigners even consider that? Besides, in previous competitions, Team No. 7's results were not impressive. It was only because they had changed a dog that they rose to prominence. Foreigners placing bets on Shoubei Farm was indeed unlikely.
"Looking at that dog, I felt that it was not too bad." Fang Zhao raised his chin toward the screen. On the screen was a recap on the performance of Team No. 7 and an analysis of the lead dog, Gold Colt.
"Not just that," Wu Yi said abruptly. "Since you could see Team No. 7 having a chance at victory, you surely would not have just placed a bet on first place. How many places did you buy? You bought second and third, right? Friend, share some knowledge with us. How many positions did you buy?"
With that, Wu Yi stood up, walked over, and stood facing the table where Fang Zhao was seated, a warm smile on his face.
"Top five," Fang Zhao replied.
"What?" Wu Yi thought that he had not heard correctly and asked again.
"I bought the top five positions."
"Our luck wasn't too bad."
Wu Yi was stunned for a moment, and then a wide smile appeared on his face. "Haha, awesome. Let's be friends. You guys are first time visitors? If you need any advice, feel free to ask me. I haven't seen anyone hit the top five in a really long time. To think that it would be on my farm, too. Haha, that's great. Come, order more, order more!"
Wu Yi instructed the employees to bring more food out. He had to have a good chat with this person.
"Top five?" Did he mean placing a bet on the placings of the top five positions? The other tourists that were listening to the conversation were flabbergasted. After all, one wrong entry would mean failure. Unless all five of his picks were in that exact order, only then would it be considered a win.
"Wait a minute, let me see the odds for predicting the top five positions—a hundredfold?! How much did that little fellow wager?"
"No idea, shall we ask him?"
"Haish, people would not say how much they wagered. Asking him would be a waste of breath!" an elder said in an experienced tone. As soon as he said that, they heard Wu Yi asking the same question.
"How many entries did you submit?" Wu Yi asked.
"Twenty Thousand," Fang Zhao replied.
Wu Yi: "..."
The smaller-farm owners who had gathered around: "..."
The people in the tour group: "..."
A small child aged around eight or nine who had followed his parents on the tour asked his father in a hushed voice, "That older brother said that he submitted 20,000 entries, and one entry is five dollars. That means that older brother waged 100,000 dollars. If he hit the prediction for the top five placings, that is a hundredfold pay out. That means it is 10 million dollars?"
The child's father laughed and said, "That's right!" He had wagered 10,000 dollars on Team No. 3 to win behind his wife's back. He had hoped to bask in glory after winning and telling his wife and child to buy more stuff, but now… he would just keep his mouth shut.
"If I remember correctly, I heard that you are friends from Yanzhou?" A few of the smaller farm owners had warm smiles on their faces too.
In certain places, people forged friendships over literature. In certain places, they bonded over alcohol. As for Muzhou, they possibly bonded over sheep herding.
When talking about other stuff, such as farming or businesses, they tended to me more reserved. For all the things said, nobody would know whether one spoke the truth or if it was all cr*p. It was not possible to check whether whatever the tourists said was true or not. Unless it was seen personally with one's eyes, there was little credibility. But sheep herding was different. Watching a competition was interaction. As for those that were able to wager and make the right picks, the farm owners were always willing to talk to such people. They treated them as decent people who were capable.
Therefore, after knowing that Fang Zhao had made a wager and correctly predicted the top five places, their attitudes toward him changed immediately. They saw him as a fellow enthusiast.
Originally, there was only Fang Zhao and Zuo Yu at the table. Now, the table had become crowded. There were some farm owners who could not find a chair and hence pulled some over from the neighboring tables to squeeze in with them. The core of the viewing hall had shifted from the central area over to the table at the corner.
"Guessing the top five is not easy at all. The strength of the third and fourth placers are about the same. I believe you when you said you got lucky. However, if it was all luck, that would be a joke. Friend, you have owned a shepherd dog before, haven't you?" Wen Yi asked.
"Never had one," Fang Zhao replied.
The farm owners put on a show of disbelief. If one did not understand shepherd dogs, how could they make such accurate predictions. Luck? Even if luck was a component, it only accounted for a small portion.
"You definitely have a shepherd dog, and not just one!" a farm owner at the side exclaimed.
"I really don't. I do have a dog, just one. I picked it up from the streets. It's rather small, not a shepherd dog," Fang Zhao replied seriously.
Zuo Yu imagined that little curly-haired dog running into the pastures and barking at the flock of sheep. However, the flock of sheep would pay it no mind and continue grazing on the grass. That scene made Zuo Yu want to laugh.
After that, Wu Yi invited Fang Zhao to join his family for dinner. In Muzhou, when a farm owner invited someone to have dinner together with their family, it meant that the farm owner regarded the person as important—it was a show of approval.
As for the rest of the people in the tour group, Wu Yi did not care about them. Regarding them, they did not have a common interest, so they could stay wherever was pleasant to them.
Fang Zhao asked Wu Yi about Muzhou's history. The information he'd seen online would still be different from hearing the words of a local.
Wu Yi spoke of a lot, of the stuff that could be found online and that which could not. When he heard Fang Zhao mention the Su family, Wu Yi felt that perhaps Fang Zhao wanted to form relations with the Su family.
"Till today, Muzhou is still the Su family's Muzhou. Sheep herding competitions are also organized by them. If you want to find someone from the Su family to discuss business, that might be quite hard. If you want to gamble on the competitions... listen to a word of advice. Don't show off. Earning more or less is enough. With your foresight, splitting up to earn over a few rounds is fine too. But if you keep winning large amounts, I fear it may get you noticed. I'm not saying that the Su family will take action or do anything, but there could be trouble."
It was because Wu Yi had seen Fang Zhao wager so much money and be so accurate. He felt that Fang Zhao's character was good—that was why he told Fang Zhao all this.
"In Muzhou, among those that can accurately predict the top five, as well as all the other positions, the Su family makes up 70%. If you had not told me that you had no relations whatsoever with the Su family, I would have thought you to be an illegitimate child of theirs. Rich families have their own problems too. If you are looking to build relations with people of the Su family, make sure you think carefully and pick the right person. Otherwise it could be troublesome." Wu Yi only dared to say this much in front of Fang Zhao. Anything more, he was unwilling to say.
Wu Yi was overthinking. Fang Zhao had no interest in the matters concerning the younglings of the Su Family. The one he was familiar with was Muzhous's Su family's "Grand Master."