Lawrence was an intelligent man. Since the tender age of eighteen, he had managed to hold out on his own through thick and thin. He was wise and smart enough to never wastefully spend his money and always dreamed of opening up a shop by the end of his hardships as a merchant.
Lawrence watched as Horo paraded up the stairs, most likely to claim ownership of the only bed that the room they were staying in had. He let out a weary sigh.
There was no denying the fact that Lawrence would be a thousand steps closer to his life dream if not for the money-guzzling beauty who now accompanied him on his journeys. Ever since their meeting, he couldn't help but feel slightly bitter about the fact of whom really wore the pants in their relationship. …Almost to the point where he felt like a victim. He didn't like how she always had the upper-hand, not that he would admit it of course. It would shame him if he did because merchant never let their clients have the upper-hand. In Lawrence's ideal world of their relationship, it was Horo who was the submissive one. Not him.
But if Horo were to hear him say these thoughts, no doubt she would do something dreadfully humiliating to him. After all, with hundreds of years worth of experience, victimizing mature and sophisticated men like Lawrence into bawling eyesores was mere child's play to her. The malicious nature of females was truly something to fear.
"Pathetic." Lawrence fought back the urge to pinch the sides of Horo's face for her blunt criticism of their room. He didn't need the owners thinking ill of him the next time he happened to stop by this inn. Although he had to admit, the room was pretty shabby compared to their last decent lodgings.
"Do you really expect me to sleep on that?" Horo pointed a slender finger at the straw bed in the corner that was, with no doubt, crawling with fleas. "My tail will be become a dwelling for those irritable bugs by the next morning!"
Watching Horo's face twist with such displeasure at the thought, Lawrence couldn't help but chuckle. "Well, then I'm sure you'll have no problem sleeping on the floor tonight then."
Horo made a noise with her nose. If looks could kill, Lawrence would probably be in overkill now. "You wouldn't…" She said threateningly.
"I wouldn't what?" Lawrence asked innocently. "Well, it would be a shame to see the hairs of your wonderfully groomed tail become flattened because its owner stubbornly insisted to sleep on the floor." A hint of bloodlust flashed amongst Horo's bright ruby eyes as Lawrence continued to mock her.
"Oh, yes. But we could ask if we could rent out another room with better beds." Lawrence said. At this, the wolf girl's face lit up with childish delight.
"But then I would have to cut off the next month's supply of apples if we did that."
Horo's smile immediately faded into utmost horror, "…What?"
Lawrence found himself being straddled violently and let out a small gasp as tiny nails dug themselves viciously into his shoulders. Now on the floor with him, Horo held him down with disturbing grin on her face. Lawrence didn't like the way she was looking at him even though his heart raced with anticipation at these turn of events. There was no point in trying to hide the blush that was dangerously creeping up on his cheeks.
"My ears must be deceiving me," Her face was now close to his, their noses nearly touching. "I'm sorry, can you repeat yourself?" Her voice was low and thick that it sent shivers up Lawrence's spine.
"Uh, I…" Lawrence forgot what he was supposed to repeat. But with the way Horo's red eyes looked at him, it seemed to not matter anymore.
Then it clicked.
Horo was mocking him. She was going to turn the tables on him. Again. But not this time. Today, with a score of five-hundred-fifty-one to none, Lawrence will turn his own score from none to a one.
"Horo…I…" Lawrence said slowly, so passionately. Just before Horo thought that she had once again claimed victory, Lawrence seized her waist forcefully. It was not in a violent manner, but just enough so that she couldn't fight back with her petite body.
Horo didn't let out a sound as she found herself being pinned down on the wooden boards; she could only stare in complete surprise and amazement at the man above her. "If you try anything, I'll guarantee you'll lose something very special of yours." She grinned at him in a daring manner. The wolf goddess did not struggle against his grip despite her threat.
An evil glint spread across Lawrence's features. Still holding her down with one hand, he brought out his free one and wiggled his fingers against the side of her belly. Horo jumped and let out an uncharacteristic squeak at the sudden attack on her body. Lawrence laughed.
"Ah, so Horo the Wise is ticklish?" Now Horo was struggling. But like an insect trapped in spider's web, she was already doomed for disaster.
"Stop it, you idiot!" Lawrence couldn't help but feel slightly sadistic at the sight of Horo squirming beneath him. She was completely under his mercy. He danced his fingers on the side of her neck where she let out an undignified shrieking noise. "I said s-stop!"
Ignoring her protests, Lawrence continued to tickle the wolf goddess whose eyes were tearing up from restrained laughter. He continued to exploit this new found weakness of his already peculiar companion until a voice appeared at the doorway behind them.
Staring at them with wide eyes that mimicked Lawrence's, a stout and bearded man stood before them and was holding a pouch of silver coins.
"Mr. Lawrence, sir. I believe you miscounted the amount you paid for this night's rent and overpaid us. But if you're busy…"
The man's eyes trailed over to Horo who was lying beneath Lawrence and immediately looked away, embarrassed at the sight. Although she was fully clothed, any outsider could be misled by the already flushed face of Horo and the position she and Lawrence were in.
"We could talk about this another time," The inn owner said quickly and turned away, "Please enjoy yourselves!"
In that room for the longest moment, there was nothing but silence.
"Hm, he didn't even shut the door."
"How could you even say that!"
Jumping off Horo, who was snickering at the turn of events, Lawrence buried his face into his hands in complete humiliation. His little 'fight' with Horo was instantly wiped from his mind as he began to pace around the room thinking of what to say to the inn owner when he goes back downstairs.
"I know," Horo said, although she had already embarrassed the young merchant enough, "why don't you use our little 'incident' as an excuse to get a better room?"
Turning around to see Horo finally sitting up, Lawrence looked at her with a puzzled expression. "Huh?"
Horo groaned at how clueless this seemingly intelligent man could be when the subject didn't relate to business. "Tell him we're newlyweds on our honeymoon. He'll get the message."
The look on Horo's face as she said that was rather…suggestive…that Lawrence had to turn his face to hide his reaction.
"I suppose you're right." He agreed.
"Then what are you waiting for?" Horo asked impatiently as she crossed her arms. Sighing, Lawrence made his way down the stairs to speak to inn owner as well as about their new 'room arrangements'.
But as Lawrence stepped out the doorway, he couldn't help but feel that his and Horo's little 'tickle fight' was far from over. And it seemed that Horo could agree as well.