While getting some paperwork done at the trading company, Lawrence inquires about anyone wanting to go to the town of Ramtora. The head of the company knows that he’s referring to Nora and urges him not to get involved because of how the church feels about it. He then pauses when Lawrence tells him to address the paperwork to the Remerio company because he realizes that it means Lawrence has bought something on credit, but he decides to let Lawrence handle it himself. When Lawrence goes back outside, Horo teases him about liking Nora, but he takes it seriously and ends up declaring that he thinks very well of Horo too. She is happy about that, but she pretends not to necessarily believe him so that he’ll prove it to her by buying her honey-preserved peaches. Lawrence catches on when he notices her ears perking under the kerchief on her head, and though he’s initially angry, he eventually he calms down and agrees to hold hands with her.
Before proceeding any further, the two return to their room at the inn and discuss how Lawrence is temporarily in debt while he’s dealing in the armor. He’s taking a risk, but this could get him a bigger profit. The two then head to the Remerio company to sell the armor, but the place is bare of any trade goods or people. The one merchant there to greet them identifies Lawrence and reveals that he knows about the armor because the Ratpearon company that Lawrence got it from transferred the rights to claim his debt to the Remerio company. Because armor has been losing its value, Ratpearon put Lawrence into debt with this dead stock and then transferred the rights to it. The merchant suggests that Lawrence is basically bankrupt now, and Lawrence is too shocked to respond because he’s realized that he’s been set up. He then meets with the head of the company who explains that Lawrence has a debt of 47 and 3/4 of the Lumione currency, and he’s got two days to repay it. That means that Lawrence has to find some way to sell the worthless armor at a high price.
Horo privately suggests that they run, but Lawrence knows that the information network between merchants is like the eye of God, so they’ll be found wherever they try to do business. For him, this all boils down to returning those 47 Lumione. Horo, however, still promises to help him escape if it comes to that. Lawrence decides for now to head back to his hometown company building, and when Horo insists on coming inside with him this time, he worries because bringing a woman there has special meaning. She thinks that they should use the guise that they’re lovers, though Lawrence makes her his business partner and introduces her to the head of his hometown company by telling of the fur incident. In any case, the head now knows about the debt and explains that the company can’t save Lawrence in this instance. He also lays out the consequences of Lawrence not being able to pay the money: 10 years of hard labor as an oarsman or a miner. Still, having said all this, he urges Lawrence to do his best and promises to cooperate in any business dealings.
Lawrence’s plan for the time being is to get money for this urgent debt by borrowing even more from others. Unfortunately, none of the people he is acquainted with in this town are willing to lend him anything, and with each one that rejects him, Lawrence gets more and more frustrated. It gets to the point where he even completely stops paying attention to Horo as she tries to follow him from place to place. That evening, Lawrence arrives at a house of a particular acquaintance who seems at first willing to help because of how Lawrence had helped him make money in the past. However, this man also thinks that Lawrence should live morally by God’s teachings, and he doesn’t see in Lawrence’s attitude an attempt to show others his sincerity. He is specifically referring to how Lawrence is walking around with a woman while trying to appeal to others’ charity to borrow money, and he ends up slamming the door in Lawrence’s face in disgust. This throws Lawrence further into shock, and when Horo tries to tell him to go back to the inn for a while because he looks ghastly pale, he pushes her away and snaps at her. Lawrence immediately realizes what he just did and tries to apologize, but it’s too late. With a pained look on her face now, Horo says that she’s returning to the inn and leaves him.
You know, I can’t help but think that, bad circumstances or not, Lawrence isn’t a particularly good merchant. We’ve already seen several examples in the past of how Horo’s had to help him out, like during the fur incident. In this episode, he gets a huge debt that he didn’t expect from a deal that was designed by the Ratpearon company to screw him over, and none of those highly touted connections of his are willing to help. I think that at the very least, he should have done his homework on armor prices and should have had a back-up plan ready for what appears to have been a very high-risk deal.
All in all, I thought that things got pretty interesting again (compared to last week anyway), despite a relative lack of Nora in the episode. I’m mentioning her again because I still think that the wolf aspect is the most compelling one, but they did a good job here of building tension, such as when the head of Lawrence’s hometown company talks about the dark and painful life that Lawrence could lead if he doesn’t pay the debt. In any case, I bet that Horo’s going to have to do something that’ll save Lawrence again, and maybe Nora can help too…