At least a minimum of six shepherd dogs were required to participate in the competition. Therefore, according to Wu Yi, they were going to pick six and add Curly Hair in for a total team strength of seven. As an old, experienced farm owner, he personally took charge of training. Although there was less than a week till the next round, with additional practice, they should be able to get it together.
Fang Zhao let Curly Hair go over before turning to Su Hou beside him. "What are you standing around for? Go over and learn!" Fang Zhao told Su Hou who seemed like he was watching an interesting scene.
"Ah?" Su Hou was at a loss. "I have to learn herding too?"
"When the time comes, is it you or Wu Yi who is going to be standing at the instructor's position?" Fang Zhao asked.
Su Hou was silent.
Most of the time, the instructor's position at the sheep-herding competition was where the respective farm owner or their successor stood. There would be recording and broadcasting of the instructor's positions during the competition. Standing there was a mark. Fang Zhao's question was to ask if Su Hou was going to stand there proudly and publicize himself when the time came or if was he going to give the chance up to Wu Yi?
Su Hou was temporarily at a loss. Looking at the flock of sheep, he stammered, " B-but there are no more extra cars."
"If there are no cars, you still have your legs."
Su Hou wanted to object, but under the stern gaze of Fang Zhao, he shuffled over in that direction. In fact, Su Hou wanted to enjoy standing on the instructor's position at the sheep-herding competition, just that standing there required too much investment. He was not familiar with any of Shanmu Farm's dogs—would they listen to his commands?
If the Shepherd dog team was capable of acting independently herding sheep, Su Hou would not mind just standing there as a decoration. But now, this was a newly formed team, and it was impossible for them to reach that standard.
Sigh. Just try it out.
Su Hou ran over to where the flock of sheep were and observed Wu Yi's hand gestures and commands when training the dogs.
Wu Yi also understood Su Hou's intentions and explained to Su Hou as he was training the dogs as well as allowing the dogs to have more interactions with him.
Su Hou had brought along three people. His attendants saw to his dietary and personal needs and doubled up as bodyguards. However, Fang Zhao did not let the three bodyguards help Su Hou. All he allowed them to do was ensure Su Hou's safety and not worry about the rest. Su Hou also agreed; therefore, the three bodyguards stood some way off, watching the little fatty Su running around with the dogs and sheep.
Fang Zhao noticed that, at the start, Curly Hair did not blend in well with the team and was not familiar with many commands. However, after an hour, his mistakes were much fewer, and he could correctly carry out Wu Yi's instructions to herd the sheep. Although it was not a very good blend, they managed to herd the sheep with some difficulty.
Fang Zhao felt that sheep herding opened a new world for Curly Hair. This dog was very strange; it could learn very quickly, but up to now, it had never shown any signs of menace or intention of attacking the people around it. Although it would have its own thoughts, it never hid them. It was just a dog that was as straightforward as one could get.
After the apocalypse, many new things appeared. Was this dog one of them? Fang Zhao thought to himself.
"Boss, I brought your equipment case." Zuo Yu placed the case he'd taken from the flying transport at Fang Zhao's side and looked over at the field. "Oh. Little Curly Hair seems to be doing quite well. However, he looks like he still doesn't fit in."
Zuo Yu had no experience at sheep herding, but he could still see that Curly Hair was not fitting in well. The dogs of Shanmu Farm were excluding Curly Hair. Many times, when they were running according to Wu Yi's instructions, they would steal Curly Hair's spot.
"Soon," Fang Zhao replied.
Zuo Yu did not understand what Fang Zhao meant by that, but in no time at all, he realized that the shepherd dogs were having a conflict.
When Curly Hair was running, he was obstructed by Bingo and his position was stolen. This time, Curly Hair was angry, and his low growls were like a declaration of war. Bingo also did not continue to run forward. He turned around and faced off with Curly Hair. The two dogs were barking at each other. A distance of about one meter separated them. Both their bodies were taut, baring teeth and claws, making low threatening growls.
Su Hou wanted to go over but was stopped by Wu Yi.
"A pasture only has one lead dog. That is the rule,"
From what Wu Yi saw, this pasture was Bingo's domain. Now that the small Curly Hair had joined, if it had taken up a subservient stance, all would have been well. However, that little fellow was rather passionate and had no intention to back down, instead provoking the original lead dog.
Wu Yi did not stop them. A real battle between two dogs might result in accidental injury to people. He controlled the mechanical dogs to fly over and stand by to prevent any bloodshed.
However, what surprised Wu Yi was that, where the two dogs were facing off, Bingo's growls were gradually getting softer. His erect ears had also drooped, Wu Yi knew then that Bingo was terrified!
It was actually terrified of a dog half its size?
Even if body sizes were not compared, if another dog threatened its position on its own turf, how could he get terrified that fast!
Wu Yi glanced over at Fang Zhao and received a hand gesture of "continue" from him. For the time being, they were not going to look into what caused the incident to happen. They just continued training as per usual. However, Bingo no longer tried to snatch positions this time, which made Wu Yi feel depressed.
The original plan to let Bingo be the lead dog had been shattered, and adjustments would have to be made.
"Control the area! Good, very good! Maintain distance! Positions, pay attention to the positions... Bingo! Faster, what are you afraid of! Run forward faster!"
Wu Yi directed them awhile before letting Su Hou try, no hand gestures, just oral commands.
Letting his employee's in charge of herding watch over, Wu Yi walked over to Fang Zhao and downed half a glass of water. His face was still gloomy. "Fang Zhao, that dog, did you really pick him up from some street in the city? Are you sure you did not pick it up from some laboratory or some alien planet?"
"You watch too much television," Fang Zhao replied.
As shepherd dogs were very smart and well known in Muzhou, there were many dog-related films. The virtual idols that were most popular in Muzhou were not humans but dogs.
However, other than the scenarios he saw on film, Wu Yi could not think of any other explanation. According to logic, Fang Zhao's Curly Hair was not a purebred descendant of a service dog, and the whole world knew that the IQ of Muzhou dogs were the highest in all the twelve continents. Dogs that could herd were not stupid, but now, Bingo was losing out to a small curly-haired dog whose origins and lineage were not even known.
Comparing IQ and vigor, it had lost!
Wu Yi could not understand at all. Sitting on the grass and chewing on a strand of straw, he felt a little heartache. His outlook on life had been changed.
If it really continues like this, the lead dog... would it be that little curly-haired dog?
When the time comes for the competition, the audience wouldn't mock them, would they?
Eh? No way!
Wu Yi's shrewd mind had begun working.
If they do not think highly, that would be less people betting, and the payout odds would be very high.
As the sheep-herding competition progressed, the rules for the rewards would change too.
As Wu Yi watched his six dogs nearby herding sheep alongside that curly-haired dog, his eyes started to shine with glee.
Midway through a break, Su Hou came over to discuss something with Fang Zhao. He wanted the dogs to listen to his instructions at the next competition. For that, he would need the selected dogs to approve of him. Curly Hair was not an issue, but the other six dogs saw Wu Yi as their master. Unless Wu Yi renounced them, they would not take anyone else for a second master.
"Wu Yi said to make them approve of me in the shortest time, other than interacting with them when herding, I would need to eat and sleep with them to increase my time spent together. From what I understand, I have to treat myself as a dog," Su Hou said.
"What about your own decision?" Fang Zhao asked.
Su Hou scratched his head. "I think that if that can help us win, it is not that big of a deal."
Fang Zhao laughed and did not continue the topic. Instead he said, "I heard that if you get in the top eight of the eastern region, there is a five-minute dedicated advertisement segment."
"Yes, yes, yes!"
When Fang Zhao mentioned this, Su Hou then remembered, for normal sheep-herding competitions, although there was an introduction for each farm, the time frame for each was not much, just a few brief lines on each farm before they introduced the dog's accomplishments. But at the Eastern region finals, where the top eight were cut down to the top four, when they decided the qualifications, there would be an opportunity to exhibit themselves. And that period was when everyone in Muzhou would be paying attention.
"If we do get that chance, I will make sure to make myself even more handsome for the shoot!" Su Hou had started thinking of how cool and dazzling his image would be at the finals.
Thinking of this, he felt inspired. "Master Zhao, for the publicity film, would you personally craft the background music?"
Su Hou laughed excitedly and ran toward the flock of sheep. He felt that, in a while, he would be able to ride dogs into battle.
Wu Yi walked over and suspiciously asked,"What's up with that little fellow?" Previously, he had seen the little master looking listless, but now it seemed he was all perked up. "And what are you doing over here again?"
Seeing what Fang Zhao was doing, Wu Yi forgot about his previous question. He saw Fang Zhao attaching a fingernail-sized object to the curly-haired dog's head.
"A sound recorder, for collecting material." After attaching the equipment, he patted Curly Hair. "Go on."
"Is straw nice to eat?" Fang Zhao asked upon seeing Wu Yi chewing on yet another stalk.
Wu Yi had a profound looked on his face. "You wouldn't understand. The four seasons are contained inside a stalk of straw."
Walking over to Fang Zhao's side, Wu Yi listened to the sounds of the earpiece. It was all the sound of wind. This should be the sounds from the curly-haired dog's recorder. However, this was a very common sound. Why would Fang Zhao need it? Did he need to collect this sort of material?
Totally not understanding, Wu Yi curiously asked, "So composers like you have an interest in common sounds like this?"
Fang Zhao laughed and shook his head. "You wouldn't understand. The world is contained within sounds."
Wu Yi: "..." First time meeting some who who can pretend better than me.