Spice and Wolf – 09
After the shepherd says some words of prayer for Lawrence’s safety, he tips her with a coin and gets ready to go back on his way, but the girl stops him to ask about him hearing of rumors about wolves. In response, Lawrence admits that he had indeed heard some but had chosen this path because he was in a hurry. To his surprise, the girl asks him to hire her so that she can protect him and Horo from wolves on the rest of their journey to Rubinhaigen. Though Lawrence knows that having Horo around is enough, he’s still interested in the idea, and when Horo still objects, he claims that he wasn’t swayed by the girl’s charm and that Horo is still much more cute. Horo can tell that this shepherd girl is skilled, but her main concern is that there could be trouble if her own secret gets out since the girl will be traveling with them for a while. Still, she lets Lawrence do what he wants, so he goes over and enters into a deal with the girl. Since she hasn’t yet revealed her name yet, the shepherd identifies herself as Nora Arendt.
The rest of the journey for that day is uneventful, giving Lawrence a chance to ask Nora some questions about herself. Nora turns out to have been shepherding for about four years, ever since she found her sheep dog. Before that, she stayed at a monastery helping the poor. When Lawrence talks about how he’s surprised that a shepherd would escort them, Nora admits that she wanted to talk to someone. She also reveals that the reason she needs money is because she wants to work in tailoring, but it’s hard because the safe places already have other shepherds, leaving her with places full of wolves. Hearing Lawrence call wolves troublesome causes Horo to pinch him on the leg, so he says that they’re sly and wily too. That evening, the groups stop earlier than usual because Lawrence knows that shepherds like to sleep early. Before that, he speaks with Nora about changing employers and correctly guesses that her current one is the church. He ultimately tells her that the church can take care of her, but he feels that can still help her get an escorting side job by talking to some of his merchant acquaintances in Rubinhaigen.
After Nora goes to sleep, Horo is able to take off her cloak and steals some meat out of Lawrence’s mouth. She suggests that Nora might not have liked talking with Lawrence, but Lawrence counters by saying that Nora falling in love with him at first sight would take away the fun of gradually falling in love. Horo laughs at him for that, and Lawrence is just glad that she’s in a better mood. The following day, the three arrive at Rubinhaigen, and Lawrence pays Nora a little extra for the escort. Before parting ways with her for the time being, he asks her about which roads she can do escorts on and finds out that she can do a lot of places, including a shortcut through a particularly spooky forest. Lawrence and Horo then pass through the customs gate, and the agent who deals with them seems surprised that they brought armor from Polson. At the next customs window where he pays taxes, a second agent is also surprised, however he lets Lawrence go on. Nora meanwhile heads through the city towards the church, but everyone seems to avoid her.
Lawrence and Horo, on the other hand, go to the marketplace to eat and drink before strolling to the trading company. When Horo asks about it, Lawrence explains that businesses involve danger and accidents. Merchants use their connections to others to protect themselves, and the place they’re going is a branch office of an organization of merchants of the same hometown. However, he leaves Horo outside the building with the promise to buy her some sweet bread afterwards, and he’s greeted inside by a man who he’s well acquainted with. Unbeknownst to him though, a less than savory character has heard about his arrival in Rubinhaigen.
Well, it was another relatively slow paced episode this week. Nora has some interesting aspects (the question of why everyone in the city stays away from her, plus the lingering issue of the magician rumor), but as I’ve talked about in the past, it’s hard to stay excited on the whole because of the show’s deliberate pacing, not to mention the complex medieval trade aspects that may or may not have anything to do with the main story. I would have much rather seen the writers develop more of the story behind the magician rumor or add more stuff about the wolves aside from just have the characters talking about them. Ultimately, there’s always just enough in each episode to keep me watching from week to week (much of it thanks to Horo), but not a lot more. Maybe the sinister looking guy at the end of this episode means that something more interesting more happen soon…