Thursday, 10 August 2017

Let the mania commence!

We are so close now to the release of SONIC MANIA! I say this every time a new Sonic game is released but I'm absolutely sure this will be the best game since Sonic 3 and Knuckles. Only time will tell whether it will be better, but its got everything nailed down so far, apart from the odd few remade Mega Drive songs where the base tones dont sound as heavy. But that's nitpicking. Tee Lopes has done an awesome job with the soundtrack, so far anyway. Here's a Fresh perspective of one of his remade songs.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Spice and Wolf- novel 17- Epilogue


This story is told from Enek the dogs perspective of Norah's adventures again.
Finally its spring/summer in the world of Spice and Wolf!! Also, its 5 years later.
Norah is now a priest of a church in the same small town she found herself in before.
A carriage arrives outside. Norah and Enek collect their things and are greeted by Eve. She is now doing business in a country to the south.
Days pass and they enter the town to pick up Diana, the bird god. More travelling happens. They talk about things. Boring inconsequential ramblings.
Elsa and Fran join the carriage.

Lawrence, Holo and Col live in Nyohhira in a place still under construction. Col had been doing his own thing for a few years but eventually came to live with them. Holo had forced Col to write the wedding invitations shop opening invitations to the girls of Lawrence's past. Maybe as a joke but either way Lawrence isn't exactly happy they all got invitations.
They traveled for two years and settled here for 3. Also in that time she's never visited Yoitsu. Probably because she wants to remember it for how it was.
Debau and Hilde are back in power. The coin is getting used but hasn't fully reached its peak usage yet.

They also have a house worker named Hanna. She might not be human either.

One day in town Holo surprises Lawrence. He expected her home but she got lonely because no one was in. They wander around Nyohhira. The hot spring of their house/shop was found by her after two days of being in town. It's in a kinda remote area of the town outskirts. The hot spring itself was in a cave.
Back at home they take a hot spring bath together. Holo likes driving the wildlife away even though she still allows them to use the springs. Lawrence has even seen them help the upkeep of the maintenance of the stone.

Lawrence writes letters to all the guys hes come across during his travels with Holo. He thinks Holo wants them for the grand opening of his establishment.

Lawrence, Holo and gang sort out what food they need for the banquet. Lawrence wants his store open in the spring.
They get the preparations done. The fateful day arrives, everyone is arriving. Luward and the mercenaries bring up a metallic sign naming the new establishment as 'Spice and Wolf'.
Holo kisses him as the guests walk towards them.

The end.

What the actual fuck? No wedding? No baby? Nothing of interest in this story at all! Why?! Oooh they kiss. Pffft big deal....

Travelling Merchant and Gray Knight-
This is a sequel. Lawrence takes Holo to a house in the woods. To Lawrence's old home where he was brought up by his father. His Eccentric dad arrives A random old coot arrives after shooting arrows at what he assumed were intruders. Lawrence dad This geezer is an eccentric hermit who lives in the woods. Holo is written out completely from here on out. This incomprehensible lame story instantly got rather boring. This is just some pointless story of a hermit using an abandoned fort. Why? Why did this author make such a pointless story?! LAWRENCE'S DAD! COMON THAT WOULD BE FAR MORE INTERESTING AT THIS POINT IN THE SERIES! Now i'm bored.

They visit his fort, eat dinner and tries on an old suit of armor. Holo is not mentioned once. Written out even though shes there. Rubbish story.

Next story in this mess of a novel-
Average life of Holo and Lawrences days spent in Nyohhira, arguing and getting over their differences, told from the perspective of Col. Boring.

Next story-
Set during Lawrence and Holo traveling years. They visit a village of people that have never left their township.


This epilogue is pointless. A huge waste of time and money. It could have been awesome. Could have had a wedding, could have had a baby, could have introduced Lawrence's Dad, could have been a story set far far into the future when Lawrence is an old man whilst Holo is still young with a bunch of teenage half wolf children setting out on their adventures. But nope. We didn't get that. The author ran out of rather obvious ideas. Maybe that's why after all these years he's deciding to write more material, because he either needs in income or has an interesting idea for a possible volume 18. Whatever. See you again, I guess.

I unfortunately rate this novel 3-10.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Spice and Wolf- novel 16- The Coin of the Sun II


The man Lawrence and Holo are startled by is not Col. However the sack placed upon the table is indeed Cols. The hooded man that dropped the bag quickly draws into the crowd. Lawrence and Holo pay for their drinks and give chase. They end up in a building site of Lesko and spot a white hare sitting upon a well. This hare looks up at them. Speaking with authority, he says that Col is not harmed. He says his name is Hilde Schnau, treasurer of the Debau company. He is currently searching for the forbidden book of destructive mining techniques. His men spotted Holo, Lawrence and the others in Lenos which is why he has sought them out now.

Hilde explains that the Debau company is currently split into two opposing sides. They have made too much profit from the proposition of minting new coins. Because of which, some employees have become greedy and seek even more money. The plan is to make more currency by melting down other territories' coins. After that they hope to pounce when the current mines run dry. Hilde explains that he needs the forbidden book in order to slow them down. Holo can sense the truth from him, so it seems Hilde is just incredibly desperate. Desperate enough to take Cols bag away as a way of gaining Holo and Cols attention. Hilde feels like the northlands need to be protected and his plan is slipping away quickly. That is why he needs to bargain with his colleagues at Debau with the forbidden book.

Hilde may have taken Cols bag, but he seems to be in a huge bind because his actions are good. He tells Lawrence and Holo that he knows they are settling down here in this town. He says it would be in their favour to help him out, financially that is. He is the Debau treasurer after all.

Hilde finishes what he needs to say as men approach. Hilde gathers his clothes up with his tiny paws and hops into a gap in an adjacent building. The men arrive and tell Holo and Lawrence to go be romantic someplace else, preferably at an inn. Lol

They enter a deserted dark alleyway and stop to think. Lawrence asks her if they should just give the book to Hilde. It seems like the only thing they can do at this point. But she cries and thumps his arms and chest in jest. He wonders why she's reacting in such a way. She's sad because the mining techniques could possibly be used to destroy her home in thousands of years to come when he's long dead. Lawrence isn't worried so much because he won't live long enough to see it happen.
Lawrence feels it necessary to say that from here on out, she explicitly protested the idea of getting the book and giving it to Debau. He hugs her tightly and then wipes away her streaming tears.

Next day Lawrence has another talk with Luward and Moizi. He tells them whats going on and advises them to get out of town. They say they will retreat to Yoitsu.

Next Lawrence and Holo talk in their room. They decide to sell the shop despite the downpayment they placed upon it. There is too much risk involved right now.
They share a moment when talking. She mentions something that makes Lawrence appreciate her for being with him. He strokes her head twice and hugs her, resting his chin on her head.

That evening they sell the shop, find Hilde and agree to his terms.
They say that Le Roi will not be interested in the Northlands situation, nor will he be interested in his pleas. So Hilde says that he can pay the man 300 gold Lumione coins which are located at a hidden location someplace in town. Holo gets this money and turns into her true self so as to run south to Kieschen as quickly as she can. This is Le Roi, Elsa and Cols destination to find the forbidden book.

Next day Lawrence finds that the price of silver coin has climbed considerably.

Time passes and Lawrence feels gutted being alone without Holo around. He is awoken by Moizi who claims that things have moved forward for the worse as troops have been called up by Debau.

The Myuri mercenary band flee completely that night, leaving Lawrence alone. Before they left they did ask him to flee with them, however Lawrence feels like he's in the hands of Hilde.

The inn is empty yet Hilde does indeed turn up to speak to Lawrence, still in his hare incarnation. He gives Lawrence two documents and asks him to flee to a town called Svernel located north of Lesko. The first document is a plea for help to stop the radicals. The other is a similar letter but addressed to a lord also from the north. A lord that is against Debau but of whom would be even more against radicals.

Hildes time may be running out. Lawrence refuses the letters and the hare hops away.

A little later Lawrence packs his things in order to head off to join the Myuri mercenaries. Just outside the building he hears drunks. They talk very loudly about finding a hare. They contemplate killing it. Lawrence dashes outside and saves Hilde.

Lawrence takes his belongings, the scrolls and Hilde, and joins the Myuri's.

Somewhere outside the town, everyone talks over a small campfire and Lawrence's wagon. They decide to prepare a meal over the decision to what to do next. Lawrence suggests retreating to Lenos. Hildes wounds have been sown up by someone within the troop and he now rests in a wicker cage.

The hare speaks in a weak voice, slightly surprising Moizi. He whimpers something about having left letters in town. Luward deducts that as the last person to have seen him, Lawrence may know what he's talking about.
Lawrence hands over the letters thinking by this point they would have been useless anyway. However they turn out to be addressed to the Murui troop, which changes everything.
They realise that there is no way they can travel south. Its highly likely the Debau troops will be after them so if they did try to get to Lenos they would be hunted down like wolves. The best bet would be to travel the back roads to Svernel and do the hares bidding after all.

They head up the snowy mountainous northern slopes towards Svernel. They have to take apart their wagon and convert it to a sled, apart from Lawrence's where he leads his horse in front, on foot. Moizi stops to ask Lawrence to give up his wagon. All of Lawrence's belongings are moved to the troop wagons, leaving just his empty wagon behind.

They stay the night in a shack and move on. Hilde wakes up to find that they are deep in the mountains. Word comes that the Hugo Mercenary Company are in pursuit, but they are friends of the Myuri's so they aren't worried. The next day they are attacked by them. As predicted its not too much of a bother, its just arrows being fired at both parties as they slowly advance towards Svernel. A messenger from the Hugo mercenaries goes between each party relaying demands, but the Myuri's refuse to give in.

Because the two mercenaries are friends, they were never going to fight for real. The next day each troop are on opposite ends of a valley. They have covered themselves in pigs blood to appear more wounded, and they have greased their swords rendering them somewhat useless. The overseer of the Debau company on the Hugo side thinks it's going to be a real fight though.

Luward shouts for attack. Just after that Holo reappears. She was delayed in Lesko by a day but has finally made it back. I haven't mentioned this until now but her journey was accompanied by Hildes 'bird friend' who helped her with directions.

Holo takes Laurence away from Luward and the battle. She takes his hand forcefully and leads him off into the snowy evergreen forests and up a steep incline. He is slightly disappointed that she didn't seem to care much about their reunion, and now they are on their way to where she's hidden the forbidden book. She tells him that the bird escort is named Luis. Lawrence answers back to that rather annoyed, and she jokes about his obvious jealousy.
The incline becomes steeper and Lawrence traps his feet in the snow multiple times.
Out of nowhere Holo jumps onto him from above, causing them both to roll down the hill in the snow somewhat. She ends up on top of him hugging him with all her strength. They embrace and stay that way for a while. He wipes away her tears with his finger. Aww.

Holo has stashed the hidden book in a rather sturdy leather sack, along with the 300 gold Lumione coins given to her by Hilde to pay Le Roi had he kicked up a fuss demanding payment.

Holo explains she had trouble leaving Col. Apparently he really wanted to come and help but Elsa held him back.

When Holo asks whats going on regarding the fighting, Lawrence says that apparently The lords of the northlands are to blame for forcing the workers at the Debau company to become rebels.

They decide against running away with the money. The guilt would be too much. Holo talks more about her adventure with Luis the bird. She jokes about falling in love for him, and Lawrence again reacts to jealousy. She wraps her arms around him once more and breaths in deeply to take in his scent. She exhales the words "How much do you think I love you, you fool?". Awww.
She says that Luis has something given from his master, to be delivered directly to Hilde. That master must be mr Debau himself. Lawrence foolishly asks her whether she knows what it is, and she floors him to the ground for asking.

They return to the battle. Despite being a farce, the troops on both sides are genuinely hurt, yet not dead. An avalanche comes thundering down between the trees and onto the battlefield.
Luward shouts for a retreat.

Back at camp over hot food, Luward admits the avalanche was set up by his men. Those left in the snow were the 15 men he had to leave behind during negotiations with the Hugo messenger.

When discussing how to give Hilde his package in private, Moizi comes over to discuss what to do next.

That night the Myuri's officially visit the Hugo mercenaries camping at the bottom of the valley where the battle took place. Negotiations between their leader Rebonato and the Debau overseer called Glem go badly as the Myuri's are betrayed. It was a trap.

Robonato sticks a dagger into Lawrence's left thigh. He then focuses on Luward and breaks his leg and stabs his hand whilst demanding the whereabouts of Hilde. Luward asks why he is being betrayed but the fact remains that the rebels at Debau paid them a hefty sum of money to do so.
Having nearly passing out, Luward calls to Lawrence to call for Holo, which Lawrence does at the top of his voice.

Holo arrives in her Wolf form. She pushes Robonato to the ground and everyone scatters in panic. The horses too flee from Holos presence, apart from Lawrence's that is. Moizi steadies the unconscious Luward onto the horse, as well as Lawrence. They arrive back at the Myuri camp and everyone gets to see Holo the wolf as an ally. We see things from Lawrence's perspective so he doesn't quite know what's going on. However he has been bandaged up and is resting up.

Lawrence wakes up in a bed at Svernel. He remembers reaching the town before dawn. He clambers out of bed to assess his surroundings. He makes it to the hallway and deduces it must be morning still. A young man standing watch notices him and calls into one of the rooms. A second later Holo steps out of said room and waltzes up to Lawrence, mad at him. He asks to be let into the room to talk with the others about the next step of their plan. However she forces him to steady himself against her and the wall. She says that they have lost. It would be better for them to run away just the two of them. He holds onto her shoulders for support and protests, but being the wise wolf she lists everything as a disadvantage. He pleads that it would be mad to leave the Myuri's with them being related to her pack mate. That hurts her, but she holds his hands which are still on her shoulders, looks up at him with tears in her eyes and says that she decided on the name of their shop. He made a promise to her that that was their goal. She says she doesn't want to visit Yoitsu anymore. She knows what is happening to it. She only wants a home. She never wanted to be left in Yoitsu alone. She just wants a place to call 'home'. That is what would make her the happiest of all.

She says these lines "Come, you- do you not yet understand that one must give up certain things? And you have, to gain me. And you will, to gain what comes ahead. You are naive, are you not? Did you mean to carry on our journey forever? You have sympathy. I, too, understand how you cannot have witnessed that and not become so angry you cannot forgive it. But what is that within you that you cannot compromise, I wonder? Is that what you truly must protect? If that is so, why did you take my hand all of those times? You… Am I not your princess? I wish to live a quite life with you…"
Lawrence touches her cheek and she gently closes her eyes. He then pulls her in close with his other arm and embraces her. They then intertwine their hands and at that moment he realises his journey has come to an end. He looses energy and relies on her for support. he realises that this is how he will live his life until the day he dies; with Holos love and support.

Hilde and Millike
Hilde steps out of the room Holo did and sees them. He is now in human form. He pats them both on the shoulders realising they have come to the decision to leave. Next minute a man barges his way up the stairs. He has red hair with sideburns leading into a well trimmed beard. He recognises Holo as being non-human. She slaps him on the cheek rather scared. He is called Jean Millike, the chairman of the Svernel Merchants' Council. As they head into the room for a talk, Holo says to Lawrence that she has noticed Millike as half human.

Hilde, Millike, Holo and Lawrence head into the negotiation room where Hilde realises this man has taken on the name of a deceased merchant. His real name is Klaus von Havlish the Third; the very same lord they were hoping to seek for help. Only this man recognises and lists the flaws of Hilde. Holo says she intends not to help any further.
Millike intends to sell Hilde to the troops arriving in town. However, after Hilde and Millike talk, Millike can also see Hildes side of the story, so he decides to leave him be and just see how his fate turns out naturally.
Millike leaves and forces the troops to back off.

Lawrence rests up the next day. Hilde successfully manages to convince some of the townsfolk about the Debau rebels being in the wrong. He does this from within the inn.

Lawrence sits in a chair, looking out the window to the streets below. Holo approaches and gently calls out to him. She asks him to grab her arm to test his strength. After a successful test, she tells him they will be leaving soon. He says it would be nice if they travelled south again, to new places they have not yet visited. She sticks her hand out for his wallet. He gives it to her officially for the first time. He jokes to say don't spend it all, and she sticks her tongue out at him. They have complete trust.
She leaves via the back door unnoticed and stands at an intersection visible from his window so that he can see her. He says her name to himself with a slight chuckle.

Later, the two of them visit Luward who is still recovering in bed. Moizi and some of the others are out in town stirring up support for closing the town gate before the main force of Debaus troops arrive. If they manage to do that then surly negotiations would be accepted.

Lastly they visit Hilde. Holo finally has the chance to hand his coins back, the forbidden book and the parcel from Luis which turns out to be a coin press for Debaus new currency. It has a symbol of the sun on it.

An envoy arrives and Hilde goes out to meet the Debau employee for talks. The public is also present, ready to strike the recent visitors if things look likely to turn to warfare.

At first it seems like things would work out for Hilde, but the Debau company throws out 8 boxes of silver coins to the crowd to win them over. Lawrence, looking out the window witnessing the madness below, goes frantic and searches through Hildes belongings, including Cols bag, to find something that can help. He finds nothing and breaks down and cries. Holo comforts him as much as she can but he only gets angry. How can money rule the world like this? He scatters the papers about the air in rage and comes across one of Cols fraudulent papers from before they first met him.

Something stirs within Lawrence's mind. He frantically looks at the fraudulent letters and realises he could do something with them. But what? He looks at Holo for answers but she seems dejected. He stands to the window and sees the Debau employee named Yanarkin scattering silver coin around whilst Hilde pleads to the townsfolk.

"Do it then. I shall quite the howling ones." Holo tells him. She stands by his actions and expects him to do what he must. She stands at the open window and howls. Her bone tingling howl stops everyone in their tracks. Everyone's focus is now at the window.
"The Debau Company's impropriety must be redressed!" Lawrence shouts to everyone below. He repeats this twice more. Yanarkin asks him what evidence does he have. This stumps Lawrence but Holo knows what he should do and says quietly to him "Evidence is support for your case, no more". This triggers him to know exactly what to do. He holds up a random page from one of the documents that he is holding. Lawrence declares to everyone that it is a Debau bill of exchange, and that the money they are throwing around belongs to others. Lawrence goes on to make his point about how real world merchants work, and that the Debau rebels behaviour is wrong and unjust. Lawrence loses his strength and his voice. he falls to the floor and backs himself against it. Holo tells hims to use her as a mediator. He whispers the words with the little strength he has left and Holo repeats them to the people below, also in a grandiose manner.

In the end their words pull through. As a dire final strategy of attack, Yanarkin mentions having the church's backing. Only the church are not prevalent in these parts. Lawrence and Holo crush Yanarkin with the war of words and Hilde convinces the townspeople to close the town gate before the Dabau army arrives in full strength.

Lawrence lies on the floor and Holo sits on top of him resting her elbows on his chest and cupping her chin in her hands.
"I keep getting pulled along by no good males" she says.
"But you love me anyway, don't you?" he replies.
"Certainly, that is where the problem lies" she retorts giving him a sideways grin.

Over the next few days, Hilde has private talks with Millike to gain each others trust. They settle matters and agree a partnership where Svernel can mint Debau gold coins. Lesko are currently issuing out more silver coins so having Svernel in partnership truly can unite the northlands. The army from Lesko would arrive at Svernel and find the town gate shut. It would force them to turn back having lost.

Its evening. Luward holds a cain, ordering the rest of the Myuri mercenary band to get hard at work restoring an old warehouse furnace back to working order for the minting of the gold coins.

Hilde asks Lawrence to join Debau. He politely declines. Its a fantastic offer but he and Holo need to find their own life. After a short talk, Lawrence takes his walking cane and heads back to the inn to rest.

He doesn't get very far before Holo finds him. She carries a casket of wine with her. Lawrence asks her where she got it from. Millike is her response (even though she fails to mention him by name).
She went to visit Millikes wife's grave with him. Lawrence is reminded that even when he dies, she will live a huge amount of her time without him. Holo notices thats what he's thinking so she says "I told him… find your next female already, you fool". Lawrence stares at her in shock. She cackles in laughter walking off.

They make their way to their moonlit room. She has a go at him for the danger he put them into, including his actions with their shared speech to the goings on outside the inn. She warns him that he may suffer if he does anything like that ever again. He thinks he has lost her trust, but she still says "You seem the sort who will uphold a contract, if not a promise". She says that at some point Elsa had promised to be witness to their marriage. She asks him "So, how about it?".

Holo has just proposed to Lawrence. Flabbergasted, he just nods.
She slouches down to his face for what should have been their first kiss, however Holo is far too playful for that. She pulls out of his embrace and giggles. She mentions that before all that, he still needs to fulfil his promise of taking her to Yoitsu.
He says "very well" but points to the wine casket and asks "We can at least drink together, can't we?". She places it on the bed and brings a cup out. She warns him not to drink too much, and he remarks "to think the day would come when you would warn me about that". She just gives him a look and says "Fool".
They sit there, happily in love with one another. Outside we hear the cheers of the first tests for the bellows.


I think its safe to say Holo has been in a set of relationships before, and will again when Lawrence has passed on. Its not the most romantic of situations but its certainly inevitable, and its not like she is the type to cheat on him. Its just that she lives so long its impossible to truly think she can only have one man in her life.

I'm actually really pleased Col wasn't back after all. After the previous volume I thought he was back, cock blocking the romance yet again. Only this time it was a red herring. It was someone else instead! lol.

The romance has really nailed it. Im really happy we are finally seeing a naturally progressing relationship between the two of them.

The pace of these two books was slow. Really slow. Especially the first half of this volume. I cannot give it a high rating because of this.

One more volume to go. I know its a set of epilogues. I just hope that the story has them reaching both Yoitsu and Nyohhira.

Where are the short stories set which were in volume 13?? I know for sure they take place AFTER this volume at least. Lawrence mentioned in this volume that he wants to take her back to the south, so that is maybe where those stories are set.

I rate this book 6-10. Too long winded and long drawn out. I don't think the author can write strong two parters. This would have worked a lot better as one volume. There isn't anything wrong with the story. Its the way it was put onto paper. Its a hard read.

Knowing he should make full use of his fortune, Lawrence said this: "Welcome back."
Holo's face shot up from his chest.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Spice and Wolf- novel 15- The Coin of the Sun I


Ever since leaving for the northlands, Holo has said very little. Lawrence thinks she has been 'wearing a mask' to hide her true feelings. They have been alone in a vast expanse of empty flatlands for a few days, which is a 6 or 7 day trip before they reach the next town called Lesko. It is a town set up by the powerful Debau company.

Lawrence feels very awkward with Holo because of his actions towards her back in Lenos. They are hoping to find the Myuri mercenary band based at Lesko, the troupe named after one of Holos wolf friends from her home town of Yoitsu.

Holo decides to break the ice on the night of their fourth day travelling. Their small talk has long since dried up so she finally sheepishly asks Lawrence everything he knows regarding the Myuri mercenary band. Lawrence treads carefully around the subject, but towards the end turns the subject around and asks her who is better looking; himself or Myuri. She says that Lawrence is better looking, but she jokes and says that she would rather choose Col or Amati from their early adventures.
Luward Myuri

They finally reach Lesko with great fears and trepidation of the unknown circumstances surrounding the north and the towns military presence. They are surprised to find the town has no outer walls. They are even more surprised by the obvious wealth put into the town.

They locate and enter the inn where the Myuri mercenary band are residing. They chat to a young bloke who belongs to the troupe before the captain makes his grand entrance.
He is a young man named Luward Myuri, and by physical appearance looks very human indeed. Holo notices his necklace with a sad look in her eye and utters the word "claw". She also sheds a few tears. Luward reacts to this very alarmingly and orders the two of them to follow him to another room, barking orders for everyone else to clear out including both upstairs and downstairs.

Once alone in the back room, the three of them share a private conversation. Lawrence holds Holos hand as she acts the timid nun in front of Luward's interrogation. To an outsider this claw would look like a normal black bull horn. She informs him she recognises its scent. The tables turn and Holo starts asking demands of him on who he is. Luward draws a sword to her neck to re-assume dominance and demands to know how she knows it's a claw. However he backs down calmly and explains it is a family heirloom. He asks of her name. She tells him and recites the names of the wolf gods. Luward gives her the claw to hold. He says his late grandfather knew more information about the story of the pack of wolf gods. She pulls back her hood to his shock. But he pulls himself together and says the claw was received by the first captain of the mercenary troupe when it was founded. She reads an inscription in an ancient language that has been etched into the side of the claw. It reads "It's been a while". She cries. Luward gives Lawrence a look and then puts his hand to her shoulder for comfort.
Lawrence embraces Holo as she weeps. Luward speaks softly, "Our Great Guardian Wolf, we have finally fulfilled our promise to you".

Holo and Lawrence are given the finest room available in the Myuri inn. Holo asks for time alone which gives Lawrence and Luward a chance to chat alone. Luward informs Lawrence that Yoitsu is safe, so far at least. He then repeats the same line to the ceiling above, in a louder voice, hoping Holo would be able to hear with those powerful ears of her.

Luward explains that the Debau company are a mining corporation threatening to mine everywhere in the northlands. he informs Lawrence that he and his company would take on Debau had they only to ask.

Discussing about the claw, Luward says he does not know what happened to Myuri. The claw was passed down from generation to generation before reaching him, with orders to give to Holo if she ever turned up again. This does not necessarily mean that Myuri is dead, though it is implied. Nor does it suggest that Luward is blood related to Myuri, though again it is implied.

The Debau company is currently mining in communities of people who need the money in their area. However they are also buttering up everyone else, including all the mercenary bands with free food and lodgings within Lesko, in order to truly take over the north.

The next day Holo is still not back to her old self. Lawrence is at a loss as to what to do to console her. She still has tears in her eyes. He thinks it best for them to go exploring around town. After a few hugs and tears he dresses her. She finds this amusing through her gloominess. He takes her out to the market square and tries his best to cheer her up with various things like buying her a milk drink and sitting near street musicians. They continue their walk and peek into the metalworkers factories.

Continuing their walk once more, they come across a sign written in stone saying something along the lines of the town giving freedom for those with skills, giving no regulations and no taxes to the residents whatsoever. Lawrence is dumbfounded.
They walk around and find an empty shop with a notice on it saying it is for sale at 1200 trenni pieces. Lawrence is fixated at the store. Holo steals his wallet and buys honeyed bread for both of them. He's still transfixed at the store when she returns so she stomps on his foot. Lawrence knows its just a fantasy, but feels best to allow himself to go along with it. He says to her that he needs to sketch the storehouse back in their inn.

Back at their room, Lawrence does indeed sketch out the store. Only this time, Holo helps him out and draw parts of the house alongside him. This is the first time she has ever done this with his drawings. He feels compelled to say something about the possibility of her living with him for real, but she tells him off even before he raises the topic. They sketch together until she dozes off. Holo wakes and dozes off a few times. Each time she wakes up Lawrence notices a look in her eye like he will disappear. He realises she's scared of losing him. She eventually falls into a deep sleep. He puts her to bed and takes the drawing upstairs to the Myuri mercenary bands strategist, Moizi.

Max Moizi
The strategists full name is Max Moizi. They talk together about the state of affairs in town. Moizi informs Lawrence that he was spotted looking at the store earlier in town and so brings up the subject. Lawrence asks what it's like to live here in Lesko. Moizi tells him it's a great place to set up shop if he wishes.

Lawrence is eating with the others downstairs when Holo awakens, though she stays in the bedroom until he appears again. He tells her he has a few berries in hand if she is hungry. He asks her not to eat them all and she complies much to his surprise. But in this case she forces a berry to his lips saying "you seem to have endured enough, after all." Lawrence doesn't know what she means by that.

Lawrence counts his gold coins and finds to be making a good profit. Lawrence feels the need to write to Norah about the wonders of this town. It would be a perfect place for her to become a seamstress with ease. Holo keeps a sharp eye of his penmanship as he writes. She even advises him what she would have wrote as he writes it. Her jealousy towards Norah is still ongoing it seems.

Holo and Lawrence decide together to get more information about the town by asking around, but everywhere they go people call the town full of freedom and liveliness. Even through all this Lawrence and Holo still have their doubts, as the town is being controlled by the powerful Debau company.

They slowly begin to wonder whether the town might truly not have any problems. Lawrence next uses his merchant knowledge to see if there are any secrets. He does this by visiting a money changer. Money changers usually do business on a bridge, however this town does not have a river so they are found by the roadside.
Out of the money changers to choose from, Lawrence picks a man who looks like he isn't doing much to attract business. Lawrence thinks this man must be the one the townspeople use. He deducts that this mans attitude is 'I don't need your custom, you need mine'. Sure enough Lawrence proves to be right.
The man tells him he was better off keeping his southern coins before exchanging them in Lenos. As the area is used for metal work, decent coin is the standard and not the lowly copper coins he received in Lenos. To Lawrence's utter amazement, 1 pure gold Lumione coin can be exchanged for 27 Trenni silver pieces and not the 40 he was expecting.

Holo and Lawrence walk away and discuss things. The simple fact one could buy stock or coin from the town, sell down south for a tidy profit and do the same thing again means that something is definitely amiss with the town. Why wouldn't the Debau company be doing this?

As they walk back to the bustling Myuri inn, Lawrence whispers in Holos ear "Gold coins don't well up out of the ground like a spring. That being the case, either the Debau Company's hiding something or someone else is hiding what they're doing. Or perhaps both". Holo nods back to him with a daring look.

Over a lavish dinner with the Myuri mercenary band, Lawrence and Luward talk about the storehouse Lawrence was looking at. Lawrence quickly diverts the conversation to talking about the towns economy. Lawrence deducts that someone must be bringing in large amounts of silver from elsewhere if most people get paid in silver. Considering nobody would be coming up from the south, it must be making its way from the north. Without even bringing it up into conversation, Lawrence realises Myuri's troupe are the ones doing it.

Holo and Lawrence take a break on the bed in their room. As they lie side by side, they discuss everything about the Debau company and its possible schemes. It seems they want people to stir rumours of war as a way of manipulating mercenary bands. During the conversation Holo moves in very close to Lawrence, resting her head on his shoulders. Lawrence thinks nothing of it as he's too preoccupied with the conversation. He gently pushes her off (much to her exasperation) and tells her he has to speak more with Luward. Just as they both get ready there is a knock on the door. It's a young boy who escorts them to a room where Luward is ready to talk some more.

Luward explains that they still don't know what the Debau company is doing and where it will invade. They admit they are responsible for bringing in silver, and for a time it seems like Lawrence is put into a bind, however the conversation turns to something more mutual for both parties. They want Lawrence to continue his investigations using his merchant wit, saying that they don't know the true flow of the Debau companies money.

After even more talk, Luward gets too drunk. Moizi carries him off, leaving just Holo and Lawrence at the table. Holo stands up and tightly hugs Lawrence from behind, resting her chin into the back of his head. She suggests that maybe the Debau company are not evil after all. They went to so much trouble making this town prosper so why would they want to cause war which would automatically make the residents flee? She suggests to Lawrence that he buy the shop, also saying that she will stay by his side. She explains to him with emotion how much he means to her and how he is alive right here and now. She loosens her grip. He says to her "let's think of a name for the shop", and feeling cheeky she whispers back into his ear "Not the name for the pup?". Lawrence nearly falls out of his chair at her joke. He gets angry with her making fun of his feelings for her and for the rest of that evening she apologises to him but he has none of it. Lol.

Just before heading out next morning, Holo inspects Lawrence and praises him for growing into a more confident man.
They head off and arrive at the vacant shop. Just before he heads inside, he suddenly pieces every mystery together inside his head. He faces Holo in excitement and hugs her. They head inside the shop and he places money on the table in front of a boy in charge of overseeing any inquiries. The boy runs out to fetch his master.

Next scene Lawrence and Holo are back in their room at the inn. He finally explains that Debau are indeed starting a war, a trade war. A war where no blood will be spilled and one where they had everything to gain.
Moizi comes running in explaining that a poster has been put up in town that will change everything. Lawrence guesses correctly that Debau are creating a new currency for themselves. Moizi is shocked that he guessed right.

Debau's scheme was to spread valuable currency throughout the northlands, with any decent currency being fine so long as it was valuable. Because the weaker currencies have been pushed out, it financially strengthens the northlands. Next step for Debau to finally conquer the north is to create their own currency using even purer metals than the decent ones from the south. This unification of their own strong currency will benefit everyone in the north.

That evening Luward, Moizi, Lawrence and Holo discuss their future over expensive wine. The mercenary company as a whole feel it best to move south to carry on living in a way which reflects their way of living, whilst Lawrence says that even though he has put in his downpayment for the shop, he still needs to travel in order to create trusting relationships with future partners in the north.

The whole town is celebrating, creating a carnival atmosphere. Lawrence and Holo banter a lot whilst she is merry with wine. He also wants to let his hair down but she ponders on whether thats a wise decision. They try to join in the fun at the town centre but because its so busy they retreat to a quieter area of the commotion. Over a drink Lawrence can no longer see Holo as a friend that would depart him after arriving at Yoitsu. He can see her by his side for decades to come. He holds his hands out towards her and says he needs to speak to her after they arrive at Yoitsu. She clearly understand what he means. She too takes her hands away from her cup and join his. They draw in close for a kiss, however...


Right between them Cols burlap sack drops down on the table. A voice calls out to both of them from next to where they are sitting, "Kraft Lawrence and Holo the Wisewolf".
Who could this familiar cock block person be I wonder?


I actually laughed at Cols arrival at the end. It was such a moment only to be interrupted again by cock block Col. gerrrrrrrr. :p

This novel wasn't exactly the best. It was a nice story in that no real threat or conflict happened, however for a final story maybe that could have been better? Maybe something like that happens in the next volume. Im not saying I want this, but i feel without some sort of struggle this final story will come across as a bit bland.

7-10, but then again this is only half of one story remember.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Spice and Wolf- novel 14


Fran Sits on the bed when Lawrence enters the room. She is very serious and waits for him to sit down before saying that he should visit a guy named Philon in Lenos. He poses as a goods dealer but is really a supplier of mercenaries.
Fran informs him that Hugues is currently in the process of producing a map to Yoitsu. This in itself explains that Hugues had the courage all along to be a traveller like Fran.

Fran says that the map should be finished when he arrives back in Lenos. She says she will send a messenger via fast horse so he will get it once their wagon arrives.
Fran then resigns back to lying in her bed. She's still heavily wounded and needs more time to rest. Lawrence takes his leave.

Holo joins Lawrence as soon as he steps out of the room. At first he thinks she's pouting probably because he spent time alone with Fran, however it is because of her desire to see Yoitsu.

It is 5 days since the the end of the 12th novel, and 2 months since the beginning of the whole story. Hugues is busy preparing his wagon for Lawrence, Holo and Col. Fran is still recovering in bed. Lawrence feels bad for borrowing the wagon but Hugues only laughs it off and stocks them up with new materials, food and wine. He informs Lawrence of the name of the inn where he will have to pick up the map in Lenos. Its the Beast and Fish Tail. The same tavern they visited a few weeks prior.

Following the river path back to Lenos, Holo and Lawrence are sitting at the drivers seat of the wagon, looking back at Col sitting in the wagon bed, acting resigned and distant. They realise Col has fallen in awe with Fran, someone of similar age who has had a lot of weight on her young shoulders. Lawrence draws Holo close for warmth and comfort. Continuing on from volume 12, neither are holding back from simple loving gestures towards each other.

They stop off along the way to witness fishermen haul in their catch, along with other onlookers. The soldiers declare that the remaining fish are for the people, so all the onlookers rush in to gather what they can, including Holo and Col. Lawrence thinks this system of giving to the people is their way of preventing poaching in the area.

They arrive back in Lenos. They decide to stay well clear of the people they got into trouble with last time, and decide to re-visit the Beast and Fish Tail. Holo says to him that he's got "some nerve" going back there. At first he's not sure what she's talking about, but he then reminds himself of the barmaid that worked there. Holo says slyly that she can always soak in the hot springs of Nyohhira to 'forget her angered heart'. Lol.

They enter the inn, which is empty apart from said barmaid who is working on preparing clams. Holo doesn't show it on her face, but Lawrence can tell she's jealous of her, and visa versa.
He asks the barmaid of anywhere good to stay in town, in which she slyly retorts whether he's asking if he can stay around her place. Lol it seems like the two girls are fighting over him. Holo gestures to tighten his collar in an attempt of claiming ownership of him. Lawrence feels uncomfortable of the tense atmosphere but continues talking to the girl.

After a while Holo laughs her head off. The barmaid does the same. Lawrence hasn't got a clue whats going on but it's revealed the two girls have been teasing him the whole time.

Regarding where to stay, she recommends a place owned by a nun named sister Eunice.
Lawrence informs her that they have another person in their company so will need 3 meals sent over. When the girl finds out it's a boy, she wonders with a smile whether she should tease him instead.
Just before they leave, Lawrence reminds himself of the main reason they are there. He informs the barmaid that they have a package on the way. She even seems to know Hugues as one of her previous customers.

Lawrence drinks heavily that evening. Probably spurred on from the awkward situation he found himself in earlier. For once he collapses before Holo does. She finds it very amusing.

The next day arrives and Holo gives Col company when attending morning church.
She arrives back to Lawrence shaving his beard at the courtyard well. He is suffering from a hangover. She informs him that she's looking forward to finally getting back to Yoitsu. This could imply that she's ready to leave him, however somehow neither are feeling sad, and are just about to hold hands when cock block Col arrives with their breakfast which ends that.

After breakfast they decide to meet Philon, the guy Fran told them to visit.
Lawrence is apprehensive about the meet but it turns out to be ok. Lawrence name drops Fran and things proceed smoothly. Lawrence wants to know whether there is fighting taking place in Yoitsu, so as to avoid it at all costs. At first Philon isn't sure where it is but after Lawrence mentions the moon hunting bear the guy is pretty confident that conflicts are not taking place in previous settlements.

A portly chap named Le Roi enters the shop. Its not explained very well why he is there but he is a book keeper and seller. His travelling companion walks in who turns out to be Elsa from novel 4. Le Roi pleads with Philon to let her stay somewhere nice, but he can't help. Lawrence steps in and says she can stay in his room, much to the distaste of Holo. When they leave, Holo is clearly upset and sticks her tongue out at Lawrence and grabs Cols hand and runs off with him. Lawrence thinks they may have gone on ahead to tidy their room.

It is established that Elsa is travelling to find a partner for her work at the abbey.
As for Le Roi, Elsa's mentor the late Father Franz knew him and trusted him.
Le Roi wishes to know where Father Franz's hidden library is, and so is trying his very best to help Elsa in order to gain her trust.

They all visit the Beast and Fish Tail. Elsa is apprehensive about the new foods she's about to discover on her plate. She copes well with the food despite the spiciness, but is somewhat shocked of Cols bad table manners. She decides to teach Col and Holo respectively about good manners as payment for the room and board. After the meal when walking back, Col buzzes around Elsa. Holo looks sad and Lawrence says to her that she looks like she's had her favourite toy taken away from her.

The next morning the two woman and Col head off to morning church. Lawrence meanwhile decides to visit the shopping district. He eyes up the cheese being sold at a stall but the owner tells him all the cheese has already been sold. The owner advices him that he may still be able to buy cheese directly from a tavern. Lawrence thanks the man and says he will do just that.
Unfortunately for Lawrence, all the other stalls are also sold out. He heads to the Beast and Fish Tail for answers.

The barmaid is busy taking stock that had just arrived. Lawrence makes a connection between the lack of stock in the market and the overstock in the inn. The girl says it's because of the local economy. He buys cheese off her for a hefty sum and heads back.

On the way back he bumps into Arolds old inn and the men he met before when he had trouble with the fur trade.

He heads back for lunch with the others.

Later on, as they walk to the docks, Holo takes out her frustrations on Lawrence. She hates that Elsa is getting between her and Col. He tells her she should stop having to act the wisewolf all the time. They have a slight spat but he calms her down.

They reach the stables and sort out Lawrence's horse and wagon which they left in the care of a stable owner since last time they were in Lenos.

After that they head back to their inn. Just as they are getting to their room, Lawrence is called downstairs by Le Roi.
The two of them chat in the inns tavern. He spied on Lawrence earlier when he was talking to the men from the Delink company outside Arolds old place.
He tells Lawrence that he needs to borrow money, no questions asked. And that the Delink company would be perfect lenders. However Le Roi needs an introduction from someone who knows the Delink company. Lawrence doesn't trust the man and refuses to accept helping him, however Le Roi states his knowledge that Lawrence is heading north, which should be kept a secret. Lawrence feels trapped in a corner so feels obliged to help. As a guy forced into introducing Le Roi to the Delink company, anything that goes wrong will fall on Lawrence's head.

Le Roi is after a hidden book with mining secrets which is classified as forbidden because of its shady techniques which ruins landscapes. And Lawrence is now involved. To find this book may take a few months, which gets in the way of following Holo to Yoitsu.
He addresses this predicament upon her when going up to their room. She says she will just have to go alone when necessary. Neither want to part ways from one another but are thinking with their heads not their hearts.

Le Roi and Lawrence visit the Delink company. Lawrence is apprehensive about visiting the same place he bargained Holos life with once before. Only one of the four members is present. He tells them the plan may proceed as long as one of their guys joins them in the expedition.

They leave and shake hands. Departing from one another, Lawrence is confronted by Holo who was outside the shop the whole time listening in, or at least trying too. She couldn't hear what was going on inside. She's cold so he takes her to a nearby tavern and gets some wine down her. Lawrence notices that she has two parcels tucked under her coat. With great apprehension they open the biggest which turns out to be the map. She kisses him on the cheek for helping her find her way home. However he is highly dissatisfied. Walking back, he tells her outright he wants to take her all the way to Yoitsu. But things aren't looking likely now.

Lawrence needs to help Le Roi find a book which should stop the Northlands from being desecrated by evil mining techniques.
Col is seeking the church as a power to protect his village, which means he's better off with Elsa and not Holo; a pagan god.

The next morning they decide to get prepared for their respective journeys. They decide that a few days of preparation would be necessary. They visit Philon's shop. Philon is eager to see Frans map, however they purposely don't have it on hand. They ask about the 'Tolkien' region where Yoitsu is marked on the map. Philon explains its a highly mountainous area. Holo asks if any wolves roam the region, of which Philon replies it does.
Elsa writes a letter to her boyfriend back in Tereo whilst the others explore the town. Lawrence stays and struggles with the terms of having to split ways with Holo.

Lawrence daydreams about opening a shop with Holo, but dismisses them when Philon walks back into the room from the courtyard. He tells Lawrence that the Tolkien region will be targeted for battle of control of the area.
He mentions the Myuri mercenary band. Lawrence remembers Myuri as one of Holos fellow Wolf friends. He jumps to conclusions and imagines him as one of Holos wolf god friends who is helping to keep the Tolkien area for himself. He then imagines the two of them together helping to protect Yoitsu.

Holo walks in all cheery, with Col in tow who plonks down a bucket of eels. Holo explains they helped collect them after someone stumbled over a barrel of them. Lawrence is worried that Holo stole the eels, but they were rewarded to her as a present as she proved the most skilful at retrieving them back. Her clothes are in a state so Philon suggests she and Col take a bath, pointing to the back of the shop. Lawrence and Elsa head back to their inn to collect spare clothes.

Walking back, Elsa comes out with a statement of wanting to help him. She says that the two of them are very much alike, saying that "our true feelings are obvious, yet we both insist on putting on such great facades of responsibility". She has been turned down by the church at Lenos and is now willing to repay her dept with Lawrence. She needs to find a replacement clergyman so that she can quit her role and marry Evan. As a clergy she is currently not entitled to marry.

In a direct manner, such as her personality is, Elsa tells Lawrence straight that he needs to comes to terms with being in love with Holo. She tells him everything we readers have been wanting to say to him all this time. He is lying to himself about his feelings. He should be selfish and follow her to Yoitsu. She says that the way they are around each other is unnatural and that they should not hold back from holding hands and being lovers. Lawrence flinches and reaches for her collar in an attempt to stop her talking. But his barriers come crashing down. He confesses that he wished all of Holos old wolf friends dead, and that he is jealous of Myuri for being alive.
This conversation continues right up to getting to the room of their inn. She tells him to think like a merchant to get his way. He thinks about it and comes up with a plan.

Back at the shop, Elsa eggs him on to do her plan. Lawrence waltz's into the wash room to find Col and Holo naked, her teasing him with hot water. They have long since finished washing themselves. Lawrence throws a towel at Col who catches it, and one at Holo which hits her head. Col dries himself off and dresses at double quick speed, allowing Lawrence and Holo to chat. He rinses her hair with his hands whilst confessing everything he knows about Myuri, and the fact he's jealous of him. He also tells her he needs her to find Le Roi right away. He is not flustered at Holos naked appearance and she is taken aback yet unsure and worried at his latest decision. He squares up to her and says he will not go against his promises, implying the promise to take her home to Yoitsu.

They find Le Roi trying to negotiate with a man at the docks.
Lawrence explains the new plan. The company in Kieschen they are targeting for the book is a rather large one which has a special agreement with the Delink company. He plans on issuing multiple money orders to the company from many other companies with their names changed, each at a large sum of money. The company at Kieschan would think none the wiser until they run low of money, but by that point it would be too late for them. They wouldn't be able to sort which money orders were real or fake. Le Roi would appear to them at this point and suggest he take the money orders off their hands, with the condition that they give him the book. Because Le Roi would be working on behalf of the Delink company, there would be no need for him to have money on his person (as the two companies have a special agreement and work off of money orders). What makes this a good plan is that the value of money is higher in Lenos than Kieschen so they could make a huge profit from it.

The three of them head to the Delink company. All 4 members are present and accept the changed plans, with the understanding and support that Lawrence does not want to leave Holos side. They claim they had thought of the same plan too.
This whole time Holo keeps back, at an utter loss of what Lawrence is doing.

They head to Philon's shop to be greeted by roasted eel. Le Roi asks Lawrence if he could get some fine wine from his wagon. Lawrence agrees and Le Roi sets out. Instead of waiting for him to get back, Lawrence and Holo take a walk around the streets, holding hands. They walk down a quiet narrow alleyway.

Holo stops and sheepishly asks him a forbidden question; "Why is it...that you’re so set on going to Yoitsu with me?"
Lawrence stands there. Holo is so overwhelmed she nervously talks some more about why he's doing this. She trails off mid sentence. Lawrence puts his hands to his face and asks "is it so strange?"
Lawrence feels emotionally sick.
She talks twice more. The third time she speaks she admits she has no plans of just saying good-bye once they part at Yoitsu. Lawrence is in disbelief. He asks her to repeat herself. she retorts back "must I explain everything?". This breaks the final barrier between them. Lawrence clasps his hand over his mouth and averts his gaze.

Lawrence reminds himself of how last time in Lenos, in a similar alleyway, he admitted that he loves her. she snuggles herself into his chest. He bends down to her eye level, she stands on tip toe to meet him half way.
she says directly at him "Honestly, to not accept the truth unless you have it spoken to your face". It becomes a shared notion that the thought of departing from each other after arriving at Yoitsu is tormenting both of them.

She banters about his selfishness and not thinking of her feelings after they depart Yoitsu. She grabs his ear and pulls him closer.
At this point Lawrence pulls out the second letter from Hugues, a two page letter. Only its not written by Hugues. She reads it and cries one single tear. She looks up at him and says "Aye, ‘tis what I hate about you, but you fool, you stupid fool, I...I do love you".

The letter is a contract to Holo, signed by Lawrence. They embrace. She says "I suppose we've to leave Col in the care of that bun head, then? And you've already prepared for our last travel as a pair, so I suppose the matter's settled. Come then."
she pats him on the back as a gesture that they should be on their way, only he holds her tighter and kisses her on the neck. Unrestrained, he pushes her to the wall and holds her tighter still
“Not...not here…!” she uses her strength to push him back, but goes overboard and lamps him a punch on the mouth saying ‘you fool!’

They return to the shop and go to the courtyard where they meet everyone eating eel. Everyone sees the state Lawrence is in and decide to make excuses to head on inside, giving them alone time. Holo hand feeds Lawrence the eel despite the pain in his face. she also eats happily, making girly chewing noises.



What unbelievable brilliance. I honestly didn't think much of this novel. It truly looked like for 3/4 of the book that volume 15 would start in a few months to a year later in time or sometime, after Lawrence's excursion with Le Roi.

Elsa was the most perfect character to bring back to kick Lawrence up the backside to get the ball rolling with Holo. However I understand Lawrence's feelings at holding back a relationship with a girl from another species. Especially when he was waiting for her to admit any feelings she may have had towards him, obvious or not.

The ending scene wasn't their first kiss. But it may as well have been. They still think everything will end at Yoitsu. But at long last for the series they classify themselves as a couple.

Departing from Col and Elsa purely because they want to travel alone again, albeit as a couple: Fantastic.

The three short stories from volume 13 make sense now. They happen after this novel. Whether volume 15 starts from where this novel ends, we will have to see. However I cannot wait to start it!

I rate this book 8-10. Not perfect, but still had the most anticipated scene for the whole series!
Lawrence held her tighter, then pushed her against the wall. Then-
"Not...not here...!" Holo tried to push Lawrence back, with earnest strength this time.