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Authors: Hasekura Isuna

Spice & Wolf IV

BOOK: Spice & Wolf IV
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Spice Wolf IV
Spice and Wolf [4]
Hasekura Isuna

 

 

Spice & Wolf
IV

 

Written By: Hasekura Isuna

Illustrated By: Ayakura Jyuu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

The six days of winter travel had taken a toll on his body.

While it was fortunate that there had been no snow, cold was still cold.

What blankets he had were bought by the bundle and closer to softish boards than proper bedding. Anything that could plausibly ward off the chill had been stuffed under those blankets.

The warmest thing of all, naturally, would have been another warm-bodied creature, ideally one with fur.

If said creature could talk, though, well—that would be a problem.

“I cannot but muse that I am on the losing end of this bargain, ’tis true.”

The sky was growing faintly brighter, the last vestiges of the night still caressing his face as though reluctant to leave.

Normally after being awakened by the cold, he would stare up at the paling sky for a time, unwilling to emerge from the blankets—but today his furred companion was obviously in a terrible temper.

“Look, I said I was sorry.”

“Oh, aye, if it’s a question of who is in the wrong and who should be apologizing, ’tis you and sure enough. I help ease night’s chill as I can, and I’m even generous enough not to charge you for the favor.”

The young man buried underneath the blankets, his face exposed and looking up at the sky, was Kraft Lawrence. He turned his head to the left.

Lawrence had been on his own as a merchant since he was eighteen—seven years now—and he had a fair amount of confidence in his ability to talk around even the most unreasonable of customers.

But even this seasoned merchant found himself at a loss for words when confronted by his companion, who lay to his right, directing at him a displeased stream of words with a sharp gaze to match.

The girl with her dark red eyes and flaxen hair was named Holo.

It was a rare name, but that was not the only rare thing about her.

After all, she sported a pair of keen, beastlike ears atop her head, and a splendid wolf tail sprouted from her waist.

“And yet! There are things one may do and things one may not, nay?”

Holo would not have been as angry, presumably, if Lawrence had done something as easily understood as assaulting her in her bed while his wits were still dulled by sleep.

She would have simply mocked him mercilessly until he could barely stand, laughed a hearty laugh, and called it a day

But no—the reason Lawrence endured this ceaseless stream of recrimination was because he had done something unforgivable.

What had he done? Owing to the cold, he’d unconsciously nestled his feet on Holo’s furry tail. Worse, when he turned over in his sleep, he had caught her fur.

The centuries-old Holo, the self-styled wisewolf, the girl who was sometimes called a goddess (though she hated it) had uttered a piercing, girlish cry—the pain alone must have been insult enough.

Nevertheless, Lawrence felt a bit aggrieved at his subsequent treatment. He had been asleep, after all.

Despite the fact that even now Holo continued to rail at him, the instant his feet tangled in her fur and he stepped on her tail, she had punched him hard, twice, in the face.

Surely that was punishment enough, he felt.

“’Tis bad enough that you humans tread so easily upon one’s feet when you are fully awake. But even when you are asleep! But lo—this tail is my pride! The only proof that I am me!”

Though the tail that Lawrence had rolled over was unharmed, a bit of fur had come free.

More than any pain, it was that indignity that infuriated Holo so.

Worse, before he’d rolled over, his feet seemed to have flattened a section of fur on her tail as they slept.

After staring dazedly at her tail for a moment, Holo tackled Lawrence, who had sensed that the situation was turning ugly and tried to escape from underneath the blankets, and she began to verbally assault him.

BOOK: Spice & Wolf IV
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