Saturday, June 18, 2016

Spice and Wolf Volume 08

The moon hid behind clouds, and darkness covered the area.
An occasional cold wind blew, gently ruffling her hair.

Contained in a lamp made from bent wire, a tallow flame flickered uncertainly.
It was cold, bitterly cold.

The  sound  of  ice  crushing  under  weight  accompanied  the progress of the fully loaded wagon.

No one opened their mouths. The entire party remained silent as they advanced.

Beside the wagon bed, the  unsteady lamplight flickered, illuminating the horse's  thick neck and  the back of the  horseman who walked ahead, holding the reins.

It was like a procession of corpses.

There are many such stories.

But the difference  here was that in the line there was one who stood stock-still.
The figure  held  no  lamp,  but  rather  a. staff,  perhaps  to  beat either the horse—or its master.

That single person stopped and looked.

And  in  the  deathly, expressionless procession,  only one  face conveyed surprise.
"Good  evening."

The  abrupt  words  echoed  loudly,  perhaps  because  of  the frigid air.

Had  one  crouched  down  and  scooped  up  a  handful  of  the gravel  underfoot,  it  would  have  been  indistinguishable  from the ice itself.

The individual to whom the greeting was directed was a grizzled veteran of a merchant, one who would meet even the most unexpected circumstance with calm.

And yet it took even her some time to grasp the situation.
"A swift horse, eh?" she asked, in such a way that made it clear he knew it was not the case.

Since no merchant ever shows his entire hand, he did not deign to answer the question.
She shook her head there in the shadows.

The wind blew.

In  the  darkness,  the  caravan  of  wagons  quietly  proceeded beneath  the  light  cast  by the  torches  affixed  to  the  city wall's entrance, as if heading for the gallows.

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