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Authors: Hasekura Isuna

Spice & Wolf III

BOOK: Spice & Wolf III
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Spice Wolf III
Spice and Wolf [3]
Hasekura Isuna

 

 

Spice & Wolf
III

 

Written By: Hasekura Isuna

Illustrated By: Ayakura Jyuu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

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 driver's 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 driver’s 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.

She shot Lawrence an unpleasant glance with her red-tinged brown eyes before her lips parted, showing a flash of white fangs.

“My tail is not your personal muffler.”

The tail in question flicked slightly.

That same tail, which a passing traveler or merchant would surely mistake for a simple fur of some kind, was indeed attached to its original owner, who so fastidiously groomed it. And she didn’t just have a tail; underneath her hood was also a pair of pointed wolf ears.

Naturally, these ears and tail indicated that she was no mere human.

Though there were people who, possessed by fairies or demons, had this or that inhuman feature when they were born, this girl was not such a person.

Her true form was that of a colossal wolf who dwelled within wheat; she was Holo, the Wisewolf of Yoitsu. An adherent of the common Church faith would fear such an entity as a pagan god, but Lawrence was past such fear.

He was much more likely to reappropriate the tail Holo was so proud of as a lap warmer.

“It’s such fine fur, though; putting it under the tarp keeps my legs as warm as a mountain of pelts would.”

Just as Lawrence hoped, Holo sniffed proudly and tucked her tail back underneath the tarp across their legs.

“Anyway, will we make the town soon? We will arrive before the day is out, no?”

“Just a bit farther along this river,” said Lawrence.

“And then, finally, a hot meal. I’ve had my fill of cold gruel. I can’t stand another bite!”

Lawrence could brag of more experience eating bad cooking than Holo could, but he was in complete agreement with her.

BOOK: Spice & Wolf III
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