No matter how high one flew, there would always be detractors. Furthermore, Fang Zhao was so young and only had a few compositions. Even if his global lecture could raise his status in the music world, compared to many other figures with power and prestige, he was still quite far off.
It was not that Fang Zhao did not speak well, rather that the rules were set this way. Although Fang Zhao did compose a few decent movements and received an invitation from Fiery Bird, that did not mean he was of the same standing as many famous great masters across the world. One's works and experience were considered too.
Fang Zhao did not have enough works, and his experience was not as rich as other great masters. Therefore, for the global lecture tour, Xue jing would speak for three quarters of the allocated time and Fang Zhao would speak for the remainder. Even if Xue Jing wanted to allocate a larger portion to Fang Zhao, it was not possible.
Everyone conceded that Fang Zhao had talent and outstanding works. However, he was still young. Who knew if he'd uses up all his talent quickly?
Talent was something hard to define. It could accompany a person throughout his life, or it could diminish in the next moment. Elders in the music circles had seen many such examples. Thus, how far Fang Zhao could climb and whether or not he would reach the expectations that Xue Jing had, many of them still had reservations.
However, they approved of Fang Zhao's willingness to share his knowledge with everyone. Whether they had any thoughts behind the facade of approval, they would still publicly praise Fang Zhao's selfless sharing.
Of course, there were people who felt that Fang Zhao's musical style was lacking in experience. He might have been an expert in the heavy and thick styles for large scale events or battle scenes in big productions, but in the eyes of those experienced people in the music circles, it was still inadequate.
Not to say that he had to be an all-rounder. He had to touch upon other aspects or produce more works. Otherwise, there was not enough proof that he deserved the title of a great master.
People who had seen Fang Zhao's background felt that his foundations were not solid enough and he had risen thanks to Xue Jing as well as the music association's publicity.
According to an age-old saying, with only a few compositions, it was not enough to prove he was a great master. Every great master could only prove their worth with time and works.
"Fang Zhao? He still isn't qualified enough!"
This was the evaluation given by a certain great master when interviewed during the lecture tour.
Xue Jing was worried that Fang Zhao would be affected by the assessments of people both within and outside of the music circles. After every lecture, the media would always raise that certain great master's evaluations and want to know Fang Zhao's response.
But Fang Zhao's reactions to this was always the same: "Oh."
The person in charge of interviewing was helpless. Why doesn't this little fellow give more of a reaction!
The evaluations and judgements within the music circles were all different. Fang Zhao himself paid no heed. He was very busy; how could he find the time to browse through every single evaluation from the music circles? Fang Zhao was not interested in seeing all these either.
Outside of the lectures, Fang Zhao was always busy. Xue Jing realized that, although Fang Zhao had less speaking time and fewer conferences to attend, Fang Zhao was still busier than himself.
"What are you preparing this time?" Xue Jing asked.
"Settling matters for Muzhou's side," Fang Zhao replied.
Xue Jing knew that Fang Zhao had jointly purchased a farm with a friend from Muzhou. He was not particularly interested in farms. Every year, many people would send him some Muzhou agricultural products as gifts. He did not really cherish these goods, so he did not ask much.
Fang Zhao was speaking the truth—he really was very busy. He was editing a video from the footage that both Dongshan Farm and Shanmu Farm had sent over. He watched both once before editing a portion and then playing the edited version together with the accompaniment music. After that, he made adjustments to it.
Silver Wing's virtual projects department was roped in to help Fang Zhao with editing the video and compiling the music. Combining video and music required a lot of adjustments and amendments to improve on it till the artistic result was satisfactory.
Other than that, Fang Zhao would receive a report every day from Wu Yi regarding information from their side and the situation over there.
Today, Wu Yi made a call to Fang Zhao.
"Your dog..." Wu Yi wanted to say something but hesitated.
"What happened?" Fang Zhao asked.
"I told you before, his capacity for learning sheep herding is very strong," Wu Yi said.
"...I used to think that your dog did not know anything about herding sheep, and that after coming, he would surely learn a thing or two from the dogs on my farm."
"Mmmhm." Fang Zhao indicated that he was listening attentively.
"But I realized that I was wrong, very wrong! The dogs on my farm have been lead astray by your Curly Hair!"
When Fang Zhao had still been in Muzhou, he would bring Curly Hair out running every night. After Fang Zhao had left for his global lecture tour, Curly Hair would still retain that habit and head out to run while the other dogs slept. Fang Zhao had mentioned this to Wu Yi and told him not to mind as long as it did not leave the farm compound. After all, this was also training.
At the start, Wu Yi had personally monitored Curly Hair. After becoming used to it, he'd only instructed his workers to pay a little attention every night. Until, one night, Bingo and a few other farm dogs followed Curly Hair out of curiosity. The one dog out running every night had become an entire pack.
During the first few days, Wu Yi had not found it to be a big problem and just thought that maybe it was helpful for his own dogs. Running more would strengthen their bodies and could be useful for the last Eastern region finals. After that, the employees told Wu Yi that the dogs had actually gone hunting for field mice! Furthermore, it was Bingo who'd taken the lead. As the farm's ex-boss, Bingo was familiar with the farm and naturally was familiar with the field mice too.
The situation rapidly developed, and the pack of dogs would run out to hunt field mice every night.
Wu Yi was distressed. That was the job of mousetrap robots. Why had this bunch of shepherd dogs joined in!
Wu Yi specially hired a veterinary team to look after them and prevent parasites, bacteria, or other harmful organisms that might affect their competition performance.
The news he'd received from Su Hou was like this,
"Master Zhao, we have won! Today was intense, and there were no wrong commands. Hopefully, they will maintain today's condition."
"We have won! There is no doubt!"
"Won again and again!"
"Today we lost, only fourth place. We only got one point to add to our accumulated score. Bingo ate a field mouse and ended up with diarrhea and did not perform. Wu Yi said that the 10 million he wagered on Master Zhao's behalf was lost. However, we have earned quite a bit from the previous few rounds. Still earning despite losing this time. As long as we win it back next time, all will be fine."
"As long as we can get a first place finish we will squeeze into the top 10!"
"Top 10 achieved! Next target, top eight!"
"One more win! The competition is tough, the other teams frequently score well too."
"Top eight! Top eight! We achieved top eight!"
"We have secured our place in the finals! The finals! Hahahaha!"
In two months, Dongshan Farm's accumulated points had risen rapidly, and the farm's reputation kept increasing. Everyone knew that Dongshan farm's lead dog was a little curly-haired dog that was particularly impressive. As their strength and reputation rose, the odds became lower and lower, to the point that Wu Yi did not even have the intention to wager but did so anyway to support their own team.
With the rise of their reputation, many people in the Eastern region knew that it was Su Hou that had purchased Xishan Farm and changed the name to Dongshan and collaborated with Shanmu Farm to take part in the competition. Of course, there were people who joked about Su Hou buying a desolate farm and having no choice but to request assistance from another farm, disgracing the Su family name.
Regarding all those words, Su Hou paid them no mind. Now, what he wanted most was to be victorious every round. Every victory was a boost to his confidence.
Due to the running together, herding together, catching field mice together, and getting scolded together, the camaraderie between the seven dogs had gradually grown deeper. The most obvious show of this was that they no longer needed Su Hou to issue commands. Even if there were mistakes during a competition, a bark from Curly Hair would get a quick reaction from all the other dogs.
Only the top eight teams that acquired the most points during the preliminaries could enter the Eastern region finals, where the top four teams would qualify for the continental sheep-herding competition. However, this time around, the eighth, ninth and 10th teams had the same number of points and all entered the Eastern region finals. Out of the 10 participating teams, the top four would be chosen to continue competing with the top four teams of the western region.
Having entered the Eastern region finals in seventh place, Su Hou was so excited that he ran circles around the field.
"Master Zhao, can you make it back in time for the Eastern region finals?" Su Hou asked Fang Zhao during one of their long distance calls.
"Hey, Master Zhao, actually, what I wanted to ask is... you mentioned that when the time came and if we qualified for the Eastern finals, you would compose a piece of background music to use for a publicity film? Hehe, I have filmed a decent film over the last two days. Master Zhao, is your music ready?" Su Hou knew that Fang Zhao had done the recording at Qingcheng previously, but before Fang Zhao had fully completed it, he'd had to leave for his global lecture tour. Now, he still did not know if it was complete.
"Send over your footage and let me take a look," Fang Zhao said.
Su Hou sent the best footage he had shot over the past two days to Fang Zhao.
Viewing the video, Fang Zhao felt a dense, childish style assaulting his senses. Su Hou, who thought himself rather dashing in the footage, was doing parkour. But people who were watching would get the impression that "this child resembles a spasming sheep."
"We had better use mine," Fang Zhao told him.
"Eh? Master Zhao also made one? When did you shoot it?"
"Times when you do not know."
Given Fang Zhao's reply, Su Hou suddenly had an ominous premonition.
"...Can I see it first?" Was he handsome and cool? Would it be able to make the crowd shriek? That was what Su Hou wanted to know the most.
"Sure, but do not send it out first."
Fang Zhao encrypted the completed video and sent it to Su Hou through a secure channel. He did not wait for Su Hou's reply; Xue Jing had called him over. Fang Zhao shut off his communications device and entered the conference hall. Today was the last session of the global lecture tour. After this was done, there was still an exchange session with all the "old seniors." He would only be able to leave the following day, but he would still be able to make it for Muzhou's Eastern region finals.