Saturday, June 18, 2016

Spice and Wolf Volume 03

Lawrence and Holo were six days out of Ruvinheigen. With each passing  day, the  cold grew more severe,  and  the  sky remained frustratingly  cloudy, so that  even  at the  height  of noonday,  the meager wind was enough to bring a chill.

Once  they  drew  alongside  the  river,  the  cold  from  the  mist combined with the frigid air to make it that much more bitter.

Even  the  river  water  looked  icy. It  was  hazy, as  though  the cloudy sky itself had melted into the flow.

However  Lawrence and  Holo  may have been  bundled  up  in secondhand  winter-weather clothing they had bought in Ruvinheigen, cold was still cold.

Nevertheless,  the  frosty  edge  was  dulled  when  Lawrence reflected  with  a mixture  of chagrin  and  nostalgia  on  the  times when, as a young merchant, he had to forego cold-weather gear in
favor of cargo.

Evidently, seven  years of experience would whip  even  a rank amateur like him into some kind of shape.

Besides the warm clothing, there was something else that mitigated the cold this year.

Lawrence had  now entered the winter of his seventh year as a merchant  since  becoming independent  at age eighteen,  and  he looked  sideways  at the  person  sitting  next  to  him  in  the drivers seat.

Typically, he'd sat in that seat alone.

Even on those rare occasions when he did happen to be traveling  with  another,  he  would  not  sit  in  the  drivers  seat  with Lawrence — and  they  certainly  wouldn't  have  shared  the  same tarp over their knees for warmth.

"Is aught the matter?" asked his companion, her slightly archaic speech evident as ever.

She was a lovely girl who  appeared  to be in her  teens, with a stunning  fall  of chestnut hair that would have been the  envy of any noblewoman.

But what Lawrence envied was neither her  flowing  locks  nor the expensive robe wrapped about her body.

No, what he envied was the thickly furred tail that lay across her lap as she carefully groomed it.

It was the  same chestnut brown as her hair, save for its snow white tip, and the tail was every inch as warm as it appeared to be.

Were  it  made  into  a  stole  it  would  be  every nobleman's  wife's object of desire, but unfortunately, it was not for sale.

"Will you hurry your grooming and put your tail under the tarp again?"

Sitting there wrapped  in  a robe, neatly  combing  her  tail fur,

Holo  looked  for  all the  world  like  a  nun  doing  some  kind  of handicraft.

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