Fang Zhao contacted Wu Yi and asked him whether he was interested in taking part in a sheep-herding competition and working together.
Fang Zhao selectively mentioned the matter regarding Su Hou to Wu Yi. Even if Fang Zhao had not said anything, news traveled fast, and Wu Yi had some idea of what had happened. Choosing what to make of it was up to Wu Yi himself.
This really lifted Wu Yi's spirits. The competition between the younger generation of the Su family such as Su Hou did not threaten him here, so a partnership of mutual interest was enticing.
Wu Yi's farm in the eastern region was not considered large, but he was not a man without ambition. It was just that there was a limit to his funding and he had not assembled a sheep-herding team before and could only support his relatives who were capable enough and hope that it would bring him some benefits. However, now, he felt that these benefits were not able to satisfy him.
Fang Zhao's proposal excited Wu Yi. Even if he was not able to gain much benefits, his own farm's shepherd dogs would gain a chance at free training. The procedures and expenses would also be handled by others. This was the best possible scenario he could have.
Wu Yi gave his affirmation. He was thinking, if his own dogs from his farm performed well at the sheep-herding competition, he would sign up for next year's competition. Even if he did not get a good position, appearing would also raise up his farm's name in the eastern region, which was still a good thing.
Wu Yi's decision came as no surprise to Fang Zhao. Most Muzhou farm owners were not stupid, especially those from bigger or medium-sized farms. They were not farm owners but businessmen. They were not the happy-go-lucky good-for-nothing people that the external world perceived them to be.
Although Wu Yi was a person who had no lack of ambition, he was still considered an upright person. Under the current circumstances, cooperating with him was the choice that was the fastest and most beneficial for both.
After confirming the time, Fang Zhao brought Su Hou to Shanmu Farm. Su Hou did not look at anything else but the land. The farm that he had bought was bigger than Shanmu Farm but totally did not have the liveliness of Shanmu Farm.
"Hahahaha, we meet again!"
Wu Yi had been waiting at the garage. When he saw the transport land, he went over to exchange greetings, and he introduced himself warmly. He might not have thought highly of Su Hou, but he did think highly of Fang Zhao.
"I heard that Xishan Farm was bought by someone, but I didn't expect it to be you," Wu Yi said.
Xishan Farm was located at the the western side of the east district. There were not many reputable farms there and the facilities were not very good. On normal days, there was not much sense of belonging. It was only because a sheep-herding team from that area had caught the attention of everyone. But the information on the internet was very different from the truth. Only those that had personally been there knew the actual situation. Wu Yi had also only heard about it in private from a friend who liked to investigate.
However, the information online was inconsistent with reality. This sort of situation was rarely seen, so even if they knew about it, no one would mention it. They only paid attention to the sheep-herding competition. Never had they expected that it was Su Hou who had bought the farm.
Given Wu Yi's decades of experience, even without asking, he could tell that there had been a trap involved and Su Hou had fallen into it. As for why Fang Zhao had entered the mix, Wu Yi was not sure. However, as long as he was able to benefit from it, Wu Yi was willing to play dumb.
"The grass on this field grows really well! Totally unlike the farm that I bought. It hasn't even revegetated yet." Even though Su Hou did not know much about farming, comparing the farm he had just bought to the one before him, the difference was clear as day. If he could not even see that, he would be blind.
"Over here, our field revegetated early!" Wu Yi did not ask why the grass on Su Hou's farm had not regrown yet, he just led Fang Zhao and Su Hou's party to the field where the sheep were at.
"Eh? Fang Zhao, is this the little fellow that you own?" Wu Yi eyed the curly-haired dog that was following Fang Zhao's legs closely.
"This dog looks quite smart. In a bit, my farm's Bingo will do some demonstrations. Let's see how much it can learn." When Wu Yi spoke, he seemed rather pleased. The Bingo he spoke of was the shepherd dog on his farm with the best temperament to be a lead dog.
Taking Wu Yi's car, in no time, the party arrived at where the flock of sheep were at. Wu Yi's farm had over 300 sheep and only seven shepherd dogs, but not every shepherd dog was capable of carrying out instructions precisely. There were workers to tend to the livestock as well as mechanical dogs.
The mechanical dogs that farm owners used were not at all like dogs; the shape was totally different. They were invented to provide assistance for herding livestock, so people coined them "mechanical dogs." Wu Yi and the other farm owners could control these mechanical dogs from their homes and observe the situations at the pastures.
The car stopped on a plot of higher ground as they stood there watching the sheep being herded.
"At this current period, pastures have to be changed frequently, so we cannot just leave them in one field. Today, we might let the sheep graze here; tomorrow, we will bring them somewhere else," Wu Yi told Fang Zhao and Su Hou. From what he saw, one was an amateur from a foreign continent and the other one was an ignorant young master of the Su family. As an experienced party, he had to show off a bit of his professional knowledge.
"In this season, we cannot let the herd walk too quickly. There is a need to control their speed, to obstruct the stronger sheep and wait for the weaker ones. Sometimes I will use this sort of job to train the shepherd dogs to complete it." As he said this Wu Yi, shouted in that direction, "Bingo!"
Among the few dogs that were herding the sheep, a large dog with brown spots sprinted over. It had a rugged body, its fur was glistening brightly, and it was extremely quick-witted. Seeing Fang Zhao and the rest of the party, it did not bark or show any intention to attack. It just looked at Wu Yi, and only after Wu Yi made a hand sign did it run over to his side.
"Fang Zhao, what does your dog normally do? Can it understand simple oral commands?" Wu Yi asked.
"Simple oral commands are fine."
Fang Zhao had not deliberately trained Curly Hair, but probably because it had interacted with the people in the department for quite some time, it could understand simple words.
"It should probably know fetch and follow. What about directions? 'Left,' 'Right.' Never mind, how about we see whether it can herd sheep first."
Wu Yi brought Fang Zhao and the rest close to the flock. Su Hou watched the dogs surrounding the flock curiously. Some of them let out low warning growls and showed an intention to attack. It was only when Wu Yi made a hand sign that they stood down, wagging their tails as they headed to Wu Yi.
Giving each a reward, he instructed them to continue standing guard. Wu Yi then pointed at some stray sheep a short distance away from the flock. "Go herd those sheep that have wandered too far away from the flock, Bingo!"
In the next moment, Bingo rushed out. The sheep that had strayed off were driven and ran back toward the herd. As for Bingo, he slowed to a walk upon nearing the flock and turned back.
"See, it is just like that. Although it might look simple, training takes time, and most of my shepherd dogs have been trained since they were young. Matured dogs whose qualities have been determined already are not suitable. Fang Zhao, your dog is not suitable for herding sheep, but a little training might be beneficial, and it might learn a thing or two. Look, there is still another sheep in front. Why don't you let small Curly Hair try it out," Wu Yi said.
"Curly Hair, go try it out."
"...This is not how you train a dog." Wu Yi saw Fang Zhao standing there not moving and looked a little helpless. He thought to himself. A foreigner is just a foreigner. If training dogs was really that easy and they did exactly as you said, I would already have brought my farm's dogs to take part in a competition.
Of course, Fang Zhao knew that really training a dog was not like this, but he had found out early on that Curly Hair's capacity for leaning was very impressive. Furthermore, he had gradually started to understand a lot of words. Thus, he was just trying it out by saying this.
Just as Fang Zhao finished his sentence, Curly Hair left and scampered over to the lone sheep.
Curly Hair was not as big as Bingo. When compared to the sheep, it was even smaller. The hooves of a sheep could crush him easily.
As Zuo Yu had expected, the sheep was not bothered as Curly Hair walked toward it, unhurriedly chewing on the grass. At most, it lazily raised an eye to look as Curly hair neared it but showed no sign of a reaction.
The curly-haired dog was at a loss and turned back, not knowing what to do.
"Still no good. This dog has no killing intent." Wu Yi sighed. "When most shepherd dogs cannot make a sheep move, they bark or threaten to bite. Your dog is too small. It probably does not dare to do so. However, it is normal for an untrained dog to do this. How about I get somebody to bring a small sheep over and let it build up a little courage? Carnivores have an innate knack for hunting. Deep down, it definitely has the instinct to do so. With a little training it, will learn."
Looking over at Curly Hair, he realized that it was observing the few shepherd dogs, probably trying to imitate them. "There is no rush, wait a moment."
A minute passed, then two minutes...
Wu Yi tore off a bit of straw and placed it in his mouth while chewing the end. This was his habit when he was bored.
"I wonder whether we should..." Wu Yi had not finished what he was saying when he saw the curly-haired dog lower its head and face the sheep in an attacking position. The originally unbothered sheep that was chewing on the grass stopped in its tracks. Suddenly, with a 'thud,' the sheep took off as if it had stepped on a spring. Behind it, the curly-haired dog chased after it closely.
Su Hou's gaping mouth could swallow an egg whole. "So sheep can run that fast?!"
The straw in Wu Yi's mouth fell. "This is my first time seeing it too."
The sheep seemed like it was running for its life and rushed straight into the flock of sheep. The originally peaceful flock that had been grazing became restless. As for the curly-haired dog, it stopped as it neared the flock.
The restless flock took a while before calming down.
Wu Yi turned towards Fang Zhao. "That dog... That dog, i-i-is-is it part wolf?" Otherwise, why had that sheep run as if its life was in danger?
Zuo Yu asked, "What do you think?"
"I think that it is rather suitable to herd sheep." He then told Zuo Yu, "Head to the transport and bring over my equipment case."
Fang Zhao had prepared an equipment case before leaving for Muzhou this time. Zuo Yu had seen it and heard that in it were tools for gathering materials.