Spice and Wolf – 02
As she travels with Lawrence, Horo brags about her ears and tail, though she ends up finding a flea. The two are then caught in a rainstorm and are forced to take refuge at a church where Lawrence claims that Horo is his wife, and she covers her face under the pretense that it’s been burned. Horo goes up to their room first, and by the time Lawrence arrives, she’s already naked and in the process of wringing her wet clothes. As they both dry off, Lawrence wonders if he should thresh the wheat that he has or leave it as it is, so Horo tells him that it won’t rot as long as she’s alive. However, since she might disappear if it gets eaten or burned, Lawrence decides to thresh the wheat later and put the grain in a pouch for her, and Horo also requests that she be able to wear it hanging around her neck. After she teases him about his smell and his facial hair, the two head to the main hall where they meet a rich husband and wife couple. Lawrence ends up describing the details of his merchant work with the husband, and the man invites Lawrence to visit his home sometime.
Afterwards, Lawrence is approached by a different man who introduces himself as Zeren, and he’s interested in both Lawrence and Horo. He wants to see Horo’s face, but she wisely points out how a woman is most beautiful from behind and that he should be careful about his dreams vanishing. This leaves Zeren speechless, and once he regains his composure, he makes a proposal to Lawrence. A little later, Lawrence returns to his room with some potatoes covered in goat cheese, but before he lets Horo eat, he gives her the pouch of wheat grain. Since Horo can supposedly distinguish between lies and truth, Lawrence asks her about what Zeren had said. Zeren had earlier talked about a rumor of a new silver coin with a higher silver content, and he had a scheme to make money by collecting the current coins and exchanging them for the new ones and other currency. He was willing to teach Lawrence about which coins are which if Lawrence gives him a cut of the eventual profits. Horo confirms that this was a lie, but what bothers Lawrence is that he doesn’t know why Zeren lied – what’s important about a lie isn’t the content of the lie but rather why the lie was told.
When Horo asks what he would decide to do if she weren’t here, Lawrence admits that he’d reserve judgment and act like he accepted the lie. That way, he’d profit if it were true, and if it were false, then there’s someone scheming. If he could get at what’s behind it, then he could still make a profit. This leads to Horo wondering what he’s going to do since she is here and is telling him that it’s a lie. This catches Lawrence a little by surprise, so Horo points out that he hasn’t been one to hesitate since the beginning of when she’s known him. The next morning, Lawrence wakes up to find Horo already out of bed, and he’s shocked to see her talking with the priest. It turns out to be a harmless chat, and Horo later comments on how powerful the church has become compared to when she first came. She notes that at the very least, they hadn’t been preaching that one god created this world, and she feels that the world isn’t something someone could create. Seeing that Horo is a little depressed about the changing times, Lawrence pats her on the head and asks if she’s personally changed. When Horo shakes her head no, Lawrence tells her that her home hasn’t changed either.
Lawrence then talks with Zeren about going forward with the deal, but he stipulates that he won’t pay anything in advance. They agree to meet in the southern town of Pattsio, and after watching Zeren leave the church on foot, Lawrence explains to Horo that time is money. He tries to use the peasants that Horo had been with as an example, however she feels that those people weren’t precise with time but rather with the days and the seasons around them. Citing his lack of age and experience, Horo goes on to challenge if Lawrence knows why wolves attack people in the mountains. Since Lawrence doesn’t know, she tells him that it’s to eat human heads to try to gain their power. When she questions if he’s been attacked by wolves before, Lawrence reveals that he has, and those memories cause him to tell Horo to stop talking about it. She feels bad that he got angry, and Lawrence eventually just asks her never to talk about it again. Nevertheless, Horo reveals that wolves only know how to hunt humans because of how humans are subjects of fear. Hearing Horo mention that wolves wonder how to act when humans come to the forest, Lawrence realizes that she went after humans too, but Horo doesn’t want to talk about it. Later that night, as they’re lying in the wagon trying to sleep, Horo quietly comments on how the two of them have lived in different worlds.
How much do you want to bet that Horo’s going to be naked in every episode…. That aside, I’m seeing more and more why she’s such a popular character. She’s usually very playful and fun, yet she has that vulnerable side of her that occasionally appears. Along those lines, the talk about wolves was probably the most interesting part of the episode, and compared to that, the getting-rich-by-playing-the-silver-coin-exchange-system was much less so. Actually, even that wasn’t so bad because it involved some kind of scheme and a suspicious character – it was the earlier bartering talk that really put me to sleep. I’m not too keen on it right now, but I wonder if the Middle Ages economics aspect will play a bigger part in the story later on. For now, I’d rather see more development about Horo’s or Lawrence’s past, particularly in relation to wolves, however the title for next episode (Ookami to Shousai – Wolf and Business Acumen) seems to imply that it’ll be more about the merchant trading side of things.