Spice and Wolf – 04
Lawrence and Horo meet with Zeren again, but this time, they’re under watch by someone from Milone trading company. Earlier, Lawrence had gone to the Milone company with information about what was going on, and they had figured out the scam. By getting merchants to amass the silver coins that were supposedly going up in value, the scammers would buy up all the coins when the merchants realized the values were actually going down and tried to get rid of them. The cheated merchants wouldn’t let anyone know about this in order to protect their own honor. The Milone Company is now investigating all this, and for the time being, Lawrence and Horo return to their room. There, Horo wonders if the Milone Company will act quickly enough, but before Lawrence can really respond, she starts laughing at how he’s leaning backwards in his chair because it reminds her of someone she had known from Pasroe. Horo then recalls that she had something important to tell him, but she can’t remember what it was, so she goes to sleep.
The next day, the two go to see the Milone branch office manager named Marlhait who reveals that they’ve found out that the Medio company is behind Zeren. He suggests that there are also nobles supporting Medio, and Lawrence is willing to come up with a plan with him. Lawrence is excited about the deal because he stands to profit enough to open his own store, and he later produces a drawing of what he wants it to look like. Hearing how much he wants to open a shop, Horo quietly says that it’s troublesome because it means that he won’t be able to journey with her if he does. Lawrence thinks that she’ll be fine, but Horo claims that she’s tired of being by herself. Realizing how Horo feels, Lawrence offers to go with her until she returns to the north, and because she still looks a little down, he hugs her. Horo then reveals that she always dreams that she wakes up with no one around, and though she and her fellow wolves started this journey because they have such long lives, she feels lonely without her companions now. To make her feel better, Lawrence offers the paper with the sketch of the shop on it for her to blow her nose with, and he points out that their deal with the Milone company hasn’t succeeded yet.
After blowing out the candle so that they can get some rest, Lawrence finds that Horo has crawled into his bed. He hugs her and almost kisses her, but Horo is paying attention to something more important. She now remembers what she was going to tell him earlier and quietly tells him that there are three people outside their room. Lawrence figures out that these are people from the Medio company, and the two of them decide to escape through the window. The thugs give chase, and as the two run through the streets, Horo gives Lawrence a handful of wheat just in case. Lawrence also promises to buy Horo something she wants – a comb for her tail – once this is all over. Shortly before they reach their destination of the Milone company though, Horo stops Lawrence because she senses that there are Medio thugs ahead. Horo’s plan is to use herself to attract the thugs’ attention while Lawrence gets away because she knows that he’d get captured if they split up any other way. Lawrence refuses and points to how the Medio company would take her to the church once they saw her ears and tail, but Horo thinks that she’ll be able to hide them long enough for him to come rescue her. She also wants to pay him back for earlier, and when Lawrence still protests, she hugs him, says that she believes in him, and runs out into the open.
With no choice, Lawrence makes a dash for the Milone company and is allowed inside right before the thugs catch him. A combination of the Milone men talking about this being under the protection of the archduke and a whistle from the other thugs causes the thugs to retreat. Lawrence then goes to Marlhait to ask for help getting Horo back since she’s been captured. He insists that the Medio company did this to thwart them, but Marlhait finds that claim strange because there’s nothing Medio can do now that Milone has moved forward with their plan. Because the Milone company has already gotten all the information they need, what happens to Lawrence has nothing to do with them. Lawrence is initially shocked, but Marlhait then continues on with how he finds this all strange since the Medio company should have been able to anticipate this, yet they came after Lawrence anyway. Marlhait suspects that Lawrence knows the reason why, but before Lawrence can respond, they get a letter from the Medio company. Inside of it are locks of Horo’s hair and a note indicating that the Medio company has the wolf. With this, Lawrence decides to come clean by revealing to Marlhait that Horo is the incarnation of a wolf that governs over good harvests.
Meanwhile, in a Medio dungeon, Horo being threatened by men who want to tie her up when someone familiar suddenly shows up.
Well this was a much more interesting episode as things finally do start to happen, both between Lawrence and Horo and with the companies. I think the trade talk is still a bit too complicated at certain points (I understood what they’re saying, but it’s still not clear to me how the silver cheat scheme works), however the introduction of an antagonist plus Lawrence being forced to reveal Horo’s true nature more than made up for it. I also like how they’re developing Lawrence and Horo’s relationship, though sometimes I wonder how sincere Horo is being when she acts vulnerable. That is to say, she’s shown more than enough intelligence for me to think that she could be faking it, even though I know that’s probably not true.
In any case, it’ll be interesting to see who the person is that Horo recognizes at the end of the episode. My gut feeling is that it’s Chloe if it’s a character we’ve already been introduced to since the shoes would indicate that it’s a woman, and Chloe’s the only other major female character so far.